Paris-based fashion house Christian Dior has named former Jil Sander designer Raf Simons, 44, as the artistic director of its women's haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories segments. He replaces John Galliano, 51, who was dismissed from the position last year after he made anti-Semitic and racist comments. Simons will present his first collection in July.
After several months of speculation on who would be the successor to British designer John Galliano at French fashion house Christian Dior, the announcement has been made.Belgium-born fashion designer Raf Simons will take over as the artistic director of Dior’s womenswear and accessories collection. “It is with the utmost respect for its tremendous history, its unparalleled knowledge and craftsmanship that I am joining the magnificent house of Dior. Mr Christian Dior has always been for me the most inspiring couturier. Around the globe, the name Dior symbolises the ultimate in elegance and refinement. I am truly humbled and honoured to become Artistic Director of the most celebrated French house in the world,” said Simons.
Simons, besides heading his own eponymous ready-to-wear label, was also the creative director of Jil Sander brand till February 2012. Raf studied industrial and furniture design and changed his career to a self taught fashion designer in 1995. Simons’ clean, minimal aesthetics is applauded by the industry.
“You can almost sense a sweeping change that will take place in the House of Dior. Simons with his astutely grounded, directional vision will perhaps allow clothes to be the real stars. I am excited to see how he injects his sense of minimalism into a hitherto dramatic Dior,” says Bandana Tewari, Vogue India fashion features director.
The announcement comes more than a year after Galliano’s dismissal preceding his anti-Semitic insults recorded while he was drunk at a Parisian café. Galliano had been the design head at Dior for 15 years and had successfully set a clear definition of its aesthetics. “Raf Simons is the opposite of everything Galliano. He is minimalistic, not flamboyant. He will bring freshness and modernity to the ultra feminine lines of Dior,” adds Neena Haridas, editor, Marie Claire India. Many big names like Haider Ackermann, Erdem Moralioglu, Marc Jacobs and Ricardo Tisci were speculated to replace Galliano in the recent past.