Raf Simons steps down as Dior’s Creative Director
There was shock in the fashion world last month as the news broke that Raf Simons, Creative Director of Dior, is to step down.
Simons’ work has been received incredibly positively since he began working with the Parisian fashion house, which makes his move to part company with them even more surprising. The motivation behind his decision to move on was simply given as ‘personal reasons’ – namely, a desire to focus more directly on his own brand and to concentrate on other interests, which include art collection and collaboration with a number of artists. Having already curated several exhibitions, it seems likely that he will continue to expand his experience in this area. Of course, Simons’ departure from Dior also leaves a huge question mark over who will take his place in one of the most sought-after and prestigious roles within the fashion industry.
Simons’ Time at Dior
Simons presented his final collection for Dior in Paris in early October, but he has seen three and a half years of success by bringing in his own very precise designs and adding to Dior’s reputation for producing ultra-glamorous collections.
Early in 2015, Simons’ journey was documented on television in ‘Dior and I’ as he put together his first Dior couture collection. Although there was initial concern from critics regarding his ability to live up to the Dior brand, the result was a breath-taking mixture of classic Dior with a modernised feel, including a them inspired by science fiction. Simons also undertook to bring the brand firmly back into the spotlight by appointing Rihanna, who was the company’s first black campaign celebrity.
Career to Date
Belgium-born Simons graduated in Industrial and Furniture Design in 1991 and went on to intern at Walter Van Beirendonck’s studio as a furniture designer, as well as gaining experience at a number of other galleries. He decided to turn his hand to fashion design after attending Paris fashion week, and by 1995 he had created the Raf Simons menswear label. Over the next eight years he collaborated with various companies to produce some prominent collections, many of which were inspired by music, youth and popular culture. 2003 saw him winning the prestigious Swiss Textiles Award. Simons changed direction with his design aesthetic in 2004, with his Autumn Winter 04-05 collection ‘Waves’ taking on a completely new theme and concentrating on shape and form. 2005 saw the release of Raf Simons’ book, which outlined the first decade of his career. In the same year he also launched his new lower-priced brand, ‘Raf by Raf Simons’, opening two flagship Raf Simons stores in Osaka and Tokyo in 2008. Simons was appointed creative director of the Prada Group’s Jil Sander label. He worked on both men’s collections and for the first time began creating women’s collections. Since then Simons has collaborated with a number of high-profile figures and brands within the fashion industry, such as Linda Farrow, Asics, Adidas and Eastpak.
So Who Are the Candidates To Replace Simons at Dior?
While there is still much speculation, rumours of a few possible candidates have been circulating. Christopher Kane, JW Anderson, Marc Jacobs, Chitose Abe, Marques Almeida, John Galliano and Rick Owens have all been suggested.