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Raf Simons

Creative Director & Designer Raf Simons

Raf Simons's Live Mosaic

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Vital Statistics

Born
12 January 1968
Nationality

Belgium

Location
France

Related People

Sidney Toledano

Chief Executive, Christian Dior Couture

Peter Philips

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Kalyani Chawla

Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Christian Dior Couture India

John Galliano

Creative Director, Maison Martin Margiela

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Biography

The multi-talented fashion visionary brought storied fashion house Dior to the forefront of modernity with his innovative approaches to design, across ready-to-wear, accessories and haute couture.

Prior to his appointment at the Parisian house, Simons spent 7 years in creative direction for Jil Sander . Today he has shifted his focus to his eponymous label, which will show at Pitti Uomo in Florence in June 2016, although many in the industry continue to speculate that an announcement regarding Simons’ appointment as creative director of Calvin Klein is imminent.

Encouraged by Linda Loppa, head of the fashion department at the Antwerp Royal Academy, the Belgian designer launched the Raf Simons label, which began as a youth culture line, in 1995.

In 2008, two flagship Raf Simons standalone stores opened in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, in collaboration with the artists Sterling Ruby and Roger Hiorns. Since 2008, Simons has created collections in collaboration with Fred Perry, Asics and Adidas, and collections of sunglasses with Linda Farrow.

Simons was appointed as creative director of Jil Sander in June 2005, and received industry-wide acclaim for his minimalist work at the German label. During his tenure, Simons transformed the brand's aesthetic from its austere minimalism by adding feminine accents and fluid silhouettes. The diffusion line Jil Sander Navy was launched under his creative direction.

Simons left Jil Sander in time for his appointment to Dior in April 2012, replacing Bill Gaytten as creative director and ending a period of transition after John Galliano's dismissal from the role. 

During his time at Dior, Simons offered modern couture and demi-couture ready-to-wear collections, featuring contemporary art and new-age materials and creating a elegant and modern take on Dior’s archive of classic silhouettes. Simons’ homages and updates of the Dior archives placed the previously minimalist designer at the forefront of Parisian fashion, building on his established reputation from his work at his own label and Jil Sander.

In 2015, Simons cast Rihanna as the first black face of the house. In the same year, Dior & I — a documentary by Frédéric Tcheng exploring the house's couture atelier and the creation of Simon's first Haute Couture collection at Dior — was released to rave reviews. In late 2015, Simons officially stepped down from his role at Dior to develop his own label.

The designer, albeit currently unaffiliated with a brand other than his own, continues to receive critical acclaim for his lasting creative influence that has prompted many at the helms of historic fashion brands to re-examine their roles in contemporary fashion.