MILAN, Italy — The ongoing musical chairs amongst creative directors at major European fashion houses took an interesting, unexpected turn on Thursday, as Jil Sander announced that Raf Simons’ would leave Jil Sander, while rumours swirled that Jil Sander herself, the founder of the brand, was set to return after having fallen out with previous management twice in the past.
Mr. Simons, the rumour mill said, was set to replace John Galliano at Dior — which has not had a creative director since Mr. Galliano was summarily dismissed by the French couture house one year ago — or was headed to Yves Saint Laurent, where it is said that creative director Stefano Pilati is not particularly favoured by management.
Not surprisingly, buyers and editors in Milan for fashion week were in a tizzy, and Raf Simons was trending on Twitter as news sources confirmed the longstanding rumours of his impending departure. As for the rest of the speculation, next steps for Simons and Sander have not yet been confirmed, though Suzy Menkes reported in a story for the Friday edition of the International Herald Tribune that Ms. Sander’s return to her namesake label was all but a foregone conclusion.
In the meantime, we wait for official news from Yves Saint Laurent or Christian Dior to see if Mr Simons will indeed continue to make fashion magic at one of the two storied Parisian houses.
Imran Amed is founder and editor of The Business of Fashion