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It’s the gasp heard ’round the world, as fashion industry professionals gain wind of Raf Simons’ exit from luxury fashion house Dior. The artistic director of the women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections label, publicly announced his exit on October 22, leaving shockwaves within the industry as to what sparked his recent departure.
The Belgian designer – internationally known for his minimalist concepts and modernist designs, exits Dior after a successful three-and-a-half year stint. While his successor remains unnamed, Simons cites “personal reasons” as the catalyst behind his decision.
“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. 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.”
According to reports, the announcement falls shortly after the 47-year-old designer and Dior, both failed to come to terms on a new employment contract — however the split remains amicable.
“Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book.”
While Dior has always been a powerhouse, the haute couture label rose to even further dimensions following the global release of the hit documentary, Dior and I, which hit theaters this past April. Shining a spotlight on Simons, the documentary followed the then creative director on his initial journey with the prestigious fashion label. The highs, the lows, the successes were all highlighted – as Simons garnered widespread respect for his creative vision, risk-taking maneuvers, and vulnerability as the new creative director at one of fashion’s most respected brands.
Although there have been several exits and departures lately across both moderate and large-scale fashion labels, this recent announcement is definitely one of the most shocking. As talks begin to circulate as to who will be the new creative director at Dior, Simons has already expressed interest in focusing on his eponymous label and other unidentified passions.
Revenues at Christian Dior Couture reportedly rose 12.9 percent in its fiscal first quarter, translating to approximately 5 percent growth. Dior is one of the legendary greats, and failure is not an option. But, there’s no doubt about it. Simons’ new successor has incredibly large shoes to fill.