Christian Dior Spring Summer 2016 by Raf Simons. Top 3 looks
Last week in our article about Demna Gvasalia, (the new creative director of Balenciaga) we mentioned the design wheel, and the seemingly permanent reshuffle that seems to be happening at the top level of design within the fashion industry. Well, it looks like the wheel has been sent spinning again with the shock announcement yesterday that Raf Simons is leaving Dior, a position he has only held for 3 short years.
So why the sudden departure? In a statement released yesterday Simons simply stated that leaving “is a decision, based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside of my work”. So for now Simons will be focusing his attention on his eponymous menswear label, a much more avant guard offering than the collections he created at Dior. The difference in style between his own label and the House of Dior could perhaps be one of the many reasons he is leaving this prominent position.
Dior is one of the most well known and respected fashion houses in the world, with strict design codes and silhouettes that were potentially too restricting for a designer such as Simons. That is not to say his collections were not critically and commercially successful, quite the opposite! Sales at Dior were increasing across the board, with even their Haute Couture sales up by a massive 60%. The collections were constantly met with huge critical acclaim and so, on the surface, everything was going perfectly according to Bernard Arnault’s (CEO of LVMH who own Dior) plan.
However, designing at this level comes at a huge personal and emotional cost to the designer, epitomised by Simon’s tragic predecessor John Galliano. The work load is mammoth, and the turn around time between collections is minimum, so for someone as creative, calm and level headed as Simons, this pressure would have eventually taken its toll. He's bowed out early, leaving a very influential mark on Dior’s history. So the wheel starts spinning again, who will step up and fill his shoes? Ricardo Tisci from Givenchy and Pheobe Philo from Celine are the bookie favourites at the moment, but we are unsure if either of them are the right fit for ultra feminine Dior. Perhaps LVMH will take a risk, like Kerring did, and promote an unknown from within the Dior ranks. Whatever happens, Simons at Dior will be missed.