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Look no further for the next artistic designer of world famous couture brand, Christian Dior. On April 9th, Raf Simons was announced to become the man behind the internationally popular label, after the position had been left unfilled for over a year.
Former head designer of the label John Galliano was fired from the position after publicly making racist comments during an argument, in which he made anti-Semitic remarks at a Parisian bar in February 2011. In September 2011, he was found guilty on the grounds of racist and anti-Semitic abuse, and was charged with a fine.
Simons landed the position this past week, after front-runner and world-renowned Marc Jacobs turned the opportunity down. Jacobs is also the current designer director for Louis Vuitton.
Between the time that Galliano was fired and Simons was hired, the Dior empire was overseen by Galliano’s former assistant, Bill Gayteen. Gayteen made his final debut with Dior at the company’s 2012 spring collection launch. Fortunately for the international label, the past year has not tarnished the name Christian Dior has made for itself, nor has the empire been financially impacted in a negative way.
Sidney Toledano, President and CEO of Christian Dior, is looking forward to seeing what Simons will bring to Dior.
“I always said that the right person would come along when all the stars aligned and that’s exactly what happened last week. “[Raf] has already begun to lay out his vision for where he can take Dior in the future and I think we are all very excited by that vision.”
One concern for the choice in appointing Simon’s is his difference in his fashion sense compared to that of Galliano. Galliano was known for eccentric and flamboyant creations, where Simons is known for his simplicity in his designs. But Simons doesn’t seem concerned.
“I feel fantastic. It is one of the ultimate challenges, and a dream to go to a place like Dior, which stands for absolute elegance, incredible femininity and utter luxury.”
Simons, who is now 44, started in the fashion industry in 1995, specializing in men’s wear. In Dior, he “will be in charge of haute couture, women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, starting with the couture show in July, while keeping his eponymous men’s line. Simons comes from a modest family and is the only child, growing up in the Flemish town of Neerpelt.
His father was a night security guard and his mother was a house cleaner. Perhaps, this is where Simons appreciation of simplicity comes in? Despite his simple designs and childhood, Simons plans on modernizing the Dior couture line, which Simons claims, he has a lot of appreciation for.
Christian Dior was founded by Mr. Dior himself, as the man brought “femininity to the postwar 1950s, building the tiny waists and sweeping skirts of his voluptuous “flower women” on his obsession with the Edwardian elegance of his early memories of his mother. Mr. Dior passed away suddenly in 1957, only ten years after he created what would now become known as one of the most desired labels of this time period.
While adding his own flare of fine tailoring and linear style to the elegance of the couture line of Dior, it is important to Simons to keep Mr. Dior’s original vision alive.
“I find that period between 1947 and 1957 extremely attractive, and there was a lot of modernity. There was the romantic appeal looking back to his mother and the belle époque, but there was also a constant evolution in shape, changing proportions and the ideas connected to the World War were revolutionary.”
Simons also adds, “in the art world there are collectors, curators and an audience, and they are all important. I am fascinated with what could be the relevance of the language of couture in the 21st century.” And we are fascinated with what Simons’ plans are for the future of the couture and elegance of Christian Dior.