Stefano Pilati isn’t the only designer showing his final collection for his French fashion house employer in Paris today. However, in the case of young French designer Maxime Simoens, it is also his first. Simoens began his role as creative director of Leonard last October and showed his first collection for the brand today, just as WWD reports he is expected to part ways with the brand.
Why so soon? Sources told the trade that he may have a better opportunity: namely, that elusive Dior job that we’ve all been waiting with baited breath to see filled. While not very well known, Simoens is considered a promising talent. At 27 years of age, he also designs his own eponymous line, which he shows during Paris couture week. In fact, he was the first designer ever to have been accepted into the French Federation of Fashion (of which the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is an entity) without having ever shown a collection. WWD compares Simoens to Christian Dior’s successor Yves Saint Laurent, who took over the house at the age of 21.
So after Raf Simons, Haider Ackermann, Bill Gaytten and a dozen others have been rumored to finally replace John Galliano, why should we believe this? For one, it would confirm rumors that Dior has been looking to go with a young talent rather than a big name. Second, he has couture experience. And third, there’s no other known reason for him to leave Leonard after only four months.
Then again, with so many rumors buzzing around, we can’t say that this one is any more likely than all the rest. Sigh, hopefully an announcement from Dior will be forthcoming–if only to put a stop to this madness!
Update: Looks like we shouldn’t get our hopes up just yet about an upcoming Dior announcement. When asked backstage about Simoens’ reported departure from Leonard, the brand’s managing director Nathalie Tribouillard-Chassaing told WWD, “I don’t know what these rumors are about. This is not at all topical. We are doing the show, and we’ll see what happens afterward.”
The designer himself was equally evasive, telling the paper, “There is nothing to comment because we are in negotiations. For the moment, nothing is happening. So when something happens, we’ll talk about it.”
Well then, we’ll just have to wait and see.