PARIS, France – Late Monday in Paris, Christian Dior SA named Raf Simons as its new artistic director, ending more than one year of speculation and rumour following the departure of John Galliano, who was suddenly removed from his role after an anti-semitic outburst at a Paris bar in March 2011 and the subsequent release of a video of Mr Galliano making similar rants at the same bar a few months earlier.
“It is with the utmost respect for its tremendous history, its unparalleled knowledge and craftsmanship that I am joining the magnificent house of Dior,” said Mr Simons in a statement on his new role at the helm of one of the world’s most prestigious and storied fashion houses. “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,” he continued.
Indeed, so powerful is the Christian Dior brand that even without a creative director at its helm, the business managed to grow profits last year by 21 percent to over €1 billion.
The appointment of Mr. Simons closes the loop on an interesting merry-go-round of designers at major Parisian fashion houses in recent months. Simons had also reportedly been in talks with Yves Saint Laurent, which recently named Hedi Slimane as its new creative director, setting the stage for a dramatic set of debuts from two of fashion’s most talked-about designers during this autumn’s ready-to-wear fashion shows. Mr Simons will also continue to develop his own menswear collection, while Kris van Assche will continue to oversee Dior Homme, previously helmed by his former boss, Mr Slimane.
The fashion world will get its first look at Mr Simons’ vision for Dior during the haute couture shows in July. Until then, we wait with baited breath to see what the future holds.