* Dior says no slowdown in China
* Trends in Europe, U.S. remain good
* Echoes positive comments from Prada, Lanvin
By Astrid Wendlandt and Mathilde Gardin
PARIS, Sept 28 French fashion brand Christian
Dior sees no sign of a slowdown in China, and trends
in Europe and the United States remain positive, its head said
The upbeat comments from the biggest fashion brand within
the LVMH stable followed a buoyant trading update on
Monday from Prada Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli, who said
Chinese demand remained strong and warned about "hysteria" over
a downturn in demand for luxury goods.
Rival French brand Lanvin also said it was not seeing any
weakness in Chinese demand, contrasting with rivals Burberry
and Tiffany, which warned about a slump in
recent months, suggesting the global luxury market might be
entering a slower growth phase.
"We don't feel a slowdown in China," Christian Dior CEO and
Chairman Sidney Toledano told Reuters after a presentation of
the brand's spring/summer 2013 collection.
China, the luxury market's main engine of growth in the past
five years, has seen demand become more sluggish for certain
luxury goods, due to slower economic growth.
Toledano said Chinese customers were becoming increasingly
sophisticated. He said Dior had purposefully positioned itself
in China at the very high end of the luxury market, offering
bags in exotic leathers, organising haute couture shows, showing
fine Dior jewellery and offering VIP rooms in boutiques.
"I am not an economist, but looking at the fundamentals of
demand in China, I am not worried," Toledano said.
Outside China, Toledano said Dior was holding up well.
"Trends are good even in Europe, where thankfully there are
tourists" to drive demand, he said.
Lanvin CEO Thierry Andretta said the fashion brand would
continue to have "double-digit sales growth this year." Sales in
Europe had slowed somewhat but not in directly operated stores.
"We will have another good year," he told Reuters after the
brand's fashion show.
Dior's chairman was speaking after the fashion house's new
lead designer Raf Simons had presented his first ready-to-wear
collection, which won praise from critics.
"I really enjoyed it," said Alexandra Golovanoff, a TV
fashion journalist. "This is a completely new page."
Simons was hired by Dior earlier this year. The group had
been without a lead designer for more than a year after the
abrupt departure of John Galliano.
The Dior show featured modern-looking pieces with very short
black dresses with flowing oversized bows and metallic belts.
Other pieces had touches of fluorescent colours, metallic blue
"It is indisputably less flamboyant than in the past," said
Antoine Arnault, son of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and head of the
group's Italian shoe maker Berluti. Arnault was indirectly
referring to Galliano's style which was known for being
flamboyant and theatrical.
The star-studded audience sitting close to Antoine and
Bernard Arnault included actor Robert de Niro, the rapper Kanye
West, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, supermodel Eva
Herzigova and France's former first lady, Bernadette Chirac.
Supermodel Natalia Vodianova, dating Antoine Arnault, said
she expected the collection to please Chinese customers.
"I thought it was very modern, very young and very Asian
also," Vodianova told Reuters. "I see all these Chinese
actresses are going to go crazy, they love these neon colours
and super-short dresses."