RAF SIMONS TO DEPART DIOR
RAF SIMONS is leaving Christian Dior, it was confirmed this afternoon. The move, which had been rumoured in fashion circles for several weeks, is said to be “for personal reasons”.
Confirmed in a statement by Sidney Toledano, Dior’s CEO, the news comes just over three years into the Belgian designer’s tenure. Revealing that “Mr Simons will not renew his contract with Christian Dior,” the statement also thanked him “very warmly” for his “exceptional contribution to the house”.
“It is after careful and long consideration that I have decided to leave my position as creative director of Christian Dior,” Simons said. “It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside of my work. Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to be allowed to write a few pages of this magnificent book. I want to thank Bernard Arnault for the trust he has put in me, giving me the incredible opportunity to work at this beautiful house surrounded by the most amazing team one could ever dream of. I have also had the chance over the last few years to benefit from the leadership of Sidney Toledano. His thoughtful, heartfelt and inspired management will also remain as one of the most important experiences of my professional career.”
The ready-to-wear show that he presented most recently in Paris – for spring/summer 2016 – will be his last for the French house, leaving him free to focus immediately on his eponymous label.
Simons arrived at Dior in April 2012 – presenting his first offering during couture – and his collections have received almost universal critical acclaim. He was credited with modernising the label and brought on new ambassadors including Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna.
As always, when a departure is announced, speculation is rife as to who could replace him. Riccardo Tisci is rumoured to be a candidate – meaning he would follow previous Dior creative director John Galliano in jumping from the smaller LVMH label to its more lucrative stablemate if the move materialised – and young LVMH talent Jonathan Anderson, currently at Loewe, is also being mooted. It is possible, however – as they did with Simons – that the company could look to an outside hire, which is where the names being connected with the job become even more diverse and interesting. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, New York design duo Proenza Schouler, and former Nina Ricci creative director Olivier Theyskens are also being connected with the now-vacant role. Alternatively, Dior could elect to hire in the mould of Gucci – enlisting a lesser-known name who is intimately familiar with the house. Alexandre Roux, now at Margiela with Galliano, is one such name after spending almost a decade between Dior and the Galliano label – and is said to be among the talents of whom Dior thinks highly.
I will never forget his opening collection at Dior.. those flower walls.. A dream!