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Dior May Name Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri First Female Creative Director

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli at a runway presentation Photo: Getty Images

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Dior has reportedly selected a new designer.

According to Reuters, Dior is about to name Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri its new creative director. "I understand that it will be announced after the couture show [in July]," a source said. Sources have told Women’s Wear Daily the same. (Racked has reached out to Dior for comment.)

The role has been empty ever since Raf Simons left the house in October 2015, after just three years on the job. Dior flourished under Simons; his focused aesthetic brought a fresh, modern take to the brand, not to mention fresh, modern faces like Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna.

When Simons left, he cited the high pressure of producing multiple collections a year for a brand of Dior’s scale, telling Cathy Horyn, "When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process... you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important.” (He’s currently rumored to be headed to Calvin Klein, where the pace appears no less lethal.)

Raf Simons takes a bow at Dior Photo: Getty Images

Grazia Chiuri is certainly used to the pressure, having co-helmed Valentino with Pierpaolo Piccioli since 2008. The pair started as accessories designers for the Italian house when Mr. Valentino was still at the top. Starting with eyewear and handbags in 1999 and eventually taking over the full accessories gamut, the duo developed a parade of must-have items. Since taking over as creative directors of the entire brand, the pair have at least “tripled or quadrupled” Valentino’s profits, unifying the sprawling brand name with a clear aesthetic vision.

That unified vision is something Dior is very much in need of, having suffered the clear ramifications of not having a creative lead for nearly a year. Grazia Chiuri isn’t the first name to pop up in fashion’s rumor mill. Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci has earned many mentions — Horyn pointed out back in October that there were several LVMH execs present at one of his shows — and Phoebe Philo of Céline was rumored back in February (and then refuted by an internal LVMH memo), but she’s a solid choice.

Grazia Chiuri would be the first woman to lead the house — no small thing in an industry that, despite its heavy female customer base, is largely run by men. But it would also mark the end of an era for Grazia Chiuri and Piccioli, with whom she’s been working since 1989, when they started at Fendi.

The end of an era indeed — and perhaps the start of another.