Raf Simons, new Artistic Director for Christian DiorJohn Galliano's replacement was just announced and it is (drum roll please!)... Belgian designer Raf Simons. Yesterday, NY Times' Cathy Horyn and her International Herald Tribune colleague Suzy Menkes both reported that Simons would head Dior and then, The House of Dior officially announced it. In a statement released on Monday, Dior trumpeted Simons as “one of today’s greatest talents” who would “propel [Dior’s] iconic style into the 21st century.” His official title is artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections. A mouthful... He’ll show his first collection for the house in July for Couture. For the past seven years, Simons designed in Milan for Jil Sander, showing feminine yet modern clothes for a fashionable, directional woman.
It's Cold Baby: Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2012 by Raf Simons
Martini Time: Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2012 by Raf Simons
Easter Dressing: Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2012 by Raf Simons
Grace Kelly 2012: Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2012 by Raf SimonsHis last collections for Sander emphasized ’50s and ’60s silhouettes and minimalist couture shapes. They were very "Grace Kelly for 2012"; sumptuous coats, 50's style dresses, clean, modern color palettes and silhouettes. All very "Dior"-esque, if you will. The collections were critically acclaimed and I bet the Dior execs were watching.
Raf Men: Simons also designed the Menswear Jil Sander collections as well as his own line of menswear, images above (top, Raf Simons Menswear Fall/Winter 2012; bottom Raf Simons Menswear Spring/Summer 2012)As we all know, in March of last year, John Galliano was let go of Dior after making anti-Semitic slurs on more than one occasion and that now-infamous video. Subsequently, he was found guilty and later apologized, adding that he had no recollection of making the hurtful slurs. He also admitted that he suffered from drug addiction and went on to seek treatment.
Since his departure, everyone and their "Fashion Dog" has speculated as to who would succeed him at the House of Dior. Names were dropped--it seemed--every week. It was rumored that Marc Jacobs was in, until the Dior execs didn't meet his demands, including a multimillion dollar paycheck plus he wanted to bring his team--including his right-hand man, Robert Duffy naturally. Alber Elbaz, Lanvin Creative Director, as well as Haider Ackermann were also rumored to have been choices as well.
The entire time, Galliano's "Design Bestie" Bill Gaytten has been designing both the Dior Pret-a-Porter (Ready to Wear) and Haute Couture collections, to mixed reviews. Most recently, however, he received great reviews for his last Dior Haute Couture Collection shown earlier this year. Many editors and fashionistas grumbled, saying that the Dior execs should stop this nonsense of having Gaytten be the "interim designer" and just give him the official "Artistic Director" title.
Then two months ago in February--suddenly and unexpectedly--news broke that Belgian Raf Simons was to leave his job as Creative Director of Jil Sander, making way for the German designer to return to her post. Cut to today, and yes, Simons is the new designer at Dior. He will be the sixth couturier for the storied French House. No word on where that leaves Bill Gaytten in the mix (if I was him, I'd take a LONG vacation to Tahiti!!). But for now, I can't wait to see what Raf Simons does for the House of Dior. Bye Bye Tutankhamen Dior Couture, hello to a new, clean, minimalist Dior.
Below, are some of Raf Simons for Jil Sander "Red Carpet Hits":
Tilda Swinton in Jil Sander by Raf Simons, 2011 Golden Globe Awards
Diane Kruger in Jil Sander by Raf Simons, VW Party in Berlin 2008 (wearing Dior shoes, incidentally)
Kate Bosworth at the 2010 Hollywood Style Awards, in Jil Sander Spring 2011 by Raf Simons