Raf Simons has been hired to replace John Galliano as artistic director at Dior.
After over a year of searching for a creative director to replace John Galliano, Dior has finally selected Raf Simons to lead the storied French fashion house.
Simons, who was recently ousted from the director's chair at Jil Sander, will pick up the reins at Dior this week. The house will make the official announcement on Wednesday, and Simons will present his first collection for the brand in July during Paris's Fall 2012 haute couture shows.
Simons's selection makes sense — his final collection for Jil Sander featured clothing that experimented with couture techniques and drew on midcentury silhouettes, rendered in Dior's signature reds, beiges, and pale pinks. It lent credence to the idea that Simons was auditioning for the role — or was at least being considered for it — but media speculation pointed more directly at other designers, like Marc Jacobs and Haider Ackermann.
But Simons will be a fresh start for a house that for a long time was led by a isolated artist. Cathy Horyn noted that Simons is the opposite of Galliano in his approach to creating fashion — an idea the designer echoes. "I'm someone who takes responsibility," he said. "I'm not an isolated person. The more I connect to people, the more I have the feeling that things work."
The job became available in March 2011, when longtime Dior creative director John Galliano was fired for making a string of anti-Semitic remarks in public. Bill Gaytten, Dior's studio director, has been filling in for Galliano in the interim. But Simons wasn't a candidate until October or November of last year, when he began meeting with Dior CEO Sidney Toledano and LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault about the job.
Simons hasn't started designing his first collection for Dior yet, but he said he is looking forward to the challenge of interpreting the house's history for the 21st century.
"Mr. Dior was very innovative during a short time span. And it was in the middle of the 20th century, a period I am very interested in, whether it’s linked to fashion, architecture or art," he said.