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Turns out Dior's lilac-strewn fashion show this month would be the last for Raf Simons as the brand's creative director. WWD reports that Simons and Dior are parting ways, and that Simons "reached this decision for personal reasons."
"It is after careful and long consideration that I have decided to leave my position as creative director of Christian Dior’s women’s collection," Simons said in a statement. "It 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 my work. Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book."
Unlike Alexander Wang's long-rumored exit from Balenciaga, this comes as a surprise. During his three-year tenure, Simons is credited with bringing fresh energy to the brand. "For once in the gossipy world of fashion, there were no rumors of a rift or whispers that Simons would leave," The Cut's Cathy Horyn writes. She speculates that perhaps the pressure of producing so much with little time to create might have gotten to Simons. "Fashion is overtly about commerce. That's okay," he told Elle earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Horyn's not wasting any time in speculating who might take over the reigns at Dior.
Who will succeed him at Dior? Lots of names will surface. One is Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. His show in New York in September, attended by top LVMH executives, seemed a platform for a major career move. But is his dark, religion-infused aesthetic right for pretty Dior? And can Toledano strike a rapport with Tisci, as he did so easily with Simons? Another possibility is Phoebe Philo of Céline. Her women-friendly clothes cause a buzz, and she’s a master of accessories, but while it would be fascinating to see a woman at Dior, the London-based Philo may resist the idea of spending more time in Paris — and being responsible for many more shows than she now is at Céline.