“The first time I heard about the Dior position, I thought, ‘This feels right'" Simons told Cathy Horyn at the Times. “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 added to Horyn's colleague, Suzy Menkes, at the International Herald Tribune. An official announcement from Dior is expected within the next few days though Horyn and Menkes are reporting different dates--Horyn is saying it will be made Wednesday, Menkes says Tuesday. UPDATE: WWD is reporting that "Christian Dior has named Raf Simons its next couturier" so maybe it's all official already.
No matter, Raf is in at Dior and it's as if all the fashion stars have aligned. He'll show his first collection for the house in July for couture. And judging from the initial reaction on Twitter and everyone I've spoken with in the industry so far, Dior has made an excellent choice in Raf Simons. His collections for Jil Sander, the last of which emphasized '50s and '60s silhouettes and couture shapes, were critically acclaimed for good reason--they were fantastic. I saw the first of his couture trilogy shows for Jil Sander in person--and it was the first and one of the few shows to really make me feel like I'd seen something new and great and directional (which it was--notice the neon explosion that followed?).
In March of last year, John Galliano was fired from Dior after making anti-Semitic slurs on more than one occasion (one such incident, the infamous 'I love Hitler' incident, was captured on a cell-phone camera and went viral). Galliano was subsequently found guilty of making “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” in a Paris court. At trial, Galliano said he had no recollection of making slurs but apologized “for all the sadness this affair has caused." He also admitted that he suffered from drug addiction and he went on to seek treatment
Since then, the Dior rumor mill hasn't stopped--fashion folks (us very much included) love to gossip. And while Galliano's studio head, Bill Gaytten, has churned out collections to luke-warm-at-best receptions for the past year, it seems like every name under the sun has been tossed up as a possibility for the Dior job--from Marc Jacobs (the first serious contender before talks broke down) to Alber Elbaz to Haider Ackermann to Kanye West. Kidding. Raf Simons was one of those names. Back in December WWD reported that LVMH and Raf Simons were in talks (talks which, according to Horyn, began in October) but Simons was still at Jil Sander. When news broke that Simons was leaving fired from Jil Sander to make way for Jil Sander's return, the fashion pack immediately thought, 'This is it, Simons is in at Dior.' And finally, he is.
Simons will be the sixth couturier for the storied French House. And we really really mean this when we say, we can't wait to see what he does there.