As usual, right in the middle of fashion month, a media frenzy has begun over some big internal shakeups at major fashion houses.
Jil Sander may be returning to the label she founded in 1968 in as little as four weeks, Gala, a major German magazine is reporting. This means fall 2012 may be the the last collection by current creative director Raf Simons, who was rumored to be the most recent candidate for the Dior job. And as we wrote this, Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn, whose word is pretty much the end all be all, Tweeted the following: "Jil Sander company has just confirmed that Raf Simons is leaving" and "Raf Simons to leave Jil Sander. Show on Saturday to be his last." Omg. (Update: Horyn has confirmed Simons' departure from Jil Sander in a blog post.)
This wouldn't be the first time the 68-year-old German designer left and then returned to her namesake label. She initially resigned in 2000 because of disputes with Prada's CEO Patrizio Bertelli after Prada bought a 75% stake in the label, only to return in 2003, produce two successful collections, and resign a second time because of Bertelli.
Since then, Sander has been working as a consultant for Uniqlo and designing the +J line for the Japan-based retailer. Incidentally, fall 2011 was the final +J collection. So why is she willing to return to Jil Sander now?
As of 2006, Bertelli is no longer involved with the label, as Prada sold it to British private equity firm, Change Capital Partners. That leaves the question: why is there a vacancy? The obvious answer is that Raf Simons is decamping for that position at Dior that's been open for almost exactly a year now.
Reports in December went so far as to say that LVMH and Simons were "close" to a deal. And while Simons has had a very successful run at Jil Sander, we think he's a great choice for Dior under the circumstances and, likewise, it will be interesting to see what Jil Sander looks like with its founder back at the helm eight years later.
We have reached out to Jil Sander's PR for comment but have not heard back.
UPDATE: Jil Sander has just issued the following official statement:
The JIL SANDER Group and Raf Simons, announce today that Mr. Simons will leave his position as Creative Director.
JIL SANDER Group and Raf Simons agreed that the designer will step down from his position as of 27th February 2012.
Raf Simons was appointed JIL SANDER Creative Director on the 1st of July 2005 with his first collection being Men’s Fall/Winter 2006. The Women’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection will be his last for the company. JIL SANDER thanks Raf Simons for his dedicated commitment to the brand, throughout these years, and wishes him the very best for the future. Jil Sander Group will communicate the appointment of a new Creative Director in the next few days.