On Thursday, LVMH officially announced that Raf Simons will be stepping down from his position as creative director at the house of Dior. This major shift came as a shock to nearly everyone in the industry as there were no rumors that the designer was thinking of parting with the Parisian label any time soon. “It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand” Simons remarked. The Belgian innovator added that “Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book.”
Although he was only at the helm of the brand for three-and-a-half years, Raf Simons is leaving behind a tremendous body of work. The designer joined Dior in 2012 after its former creative director, John Galliano, was fired due to his publicized anti-semetic slurs. Simons was an acclaimed minimalist who oversaw collections at Jil Sander prior to his appointment; an unlikely choice for a brand with such a history for extravagance. He debuted his wildly lauded first show at the hôtel particulier and decorated each room with a million vibrant blossoms. From the very moment that Julia Nobis appeared on the runway in an immaculately tailored black pant suit, a riff on the famous Bar Silhouette, it was apparent that Simons had ushered in a new era for Dior. Creating his gorgeous Fall/Winter 2012 collection, the struggles of which are documented in the critically acclaimed Dior and I, was a great achievement and it showed Simons was capable of giving the house a much needed update without compromising any of Monsieur Dior’s original codes.
Since then, the designer has re-revolutionized the label and invigorated it with a modern, cutting edge energy. Raf Simons has famously dreamt up some of the most enchanting sets at Paris fashion week. Ranging from the giant, silvery globes that mirrored a cloud printed runway for his Fall 2013 ready-to-wear presentation to the mountain of purple delphiniums erected in the Louvre gardens for Spring 2016. He also brought Dior’s pre-season shows to outrageous locations like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a sumo wrestling arena in Tokyo, and Pierre Cardin’s home in the South of France. Simons has been the creative force behind many unforgettable red carpet moments. Dior spokeswomen like Rihanna, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence have all stunned in his gorgeous confections. Dior has flourished under Simons’ watch and sales have increased dramatically since he took over in 2012.
So who will be the houses next creative director? Although no one has been appointed yet, the fashion world is buzzing about potential candidates: Céline’s Phoebe Philo and Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci are top contenders at the moment. Simons’ resignation from Dior is yet another sign of over-expansion in the fashion industry. The designer was responsible for six collections a year and the strenuous demands of managing a house of Dior’s magnitude can take a toll on even the most diligent of people. Three-and-a-half years may not seem like much, but what Raf Simon’s accomplished at Dior is an incredible feat. His interpretation of the house melded inspiration spanning centuries into forward thinking, yet classic looks. Because I failed to show Simon’s evolution at the house in a measly ten pictures, instead, there are 28 of his best runway looks shown throughout to celebrate an unbelievable three-and-a-half years filled with ingenuity, whimsy, and beauty.