Has Dior Finally Found a Creative Director in Raf Simons?

First is was Azzedine Alaia, then the Alexander Wang rumors started, next everybody was talking about Marc Jacobs, so now when rumors of a discussion between Bernard Arnault and Raf Simons begin to circulate we are almost hesitant to report them. However even Women’s Wear Daily is reporting that Mr. Arnault and the Christian Dior management team are closing in on a possible deal that would put Mr. Simons in the long vacant Creative Director slot at Dior. The storied French fashion house has been without a Creative Director for 9 months now, ever since the dismissal of John Galliano which was triggered by the designer himself and his now well know anti-Semitic rant at a Paris bistro.

While the Christian Dior label has suffered little in the absence of a Creative Director, their runway shows have been continuously flat and received  lukewarm receptions from the fashion world at best, a far cry from the hotly anticipated and highly exclusive shows that the house held under Galliano. So it stands to reason that while no real damage has been done yet, the brand risks loosing valuable market credibility and consumer mind-share with each passing season. Some are already suggesting that courting of Raf Simons is a settling of sorts on Dior’s part after talks with so many other designers fell through, after all Mr. Simons in know for minimalistic and spartan clothing designs, not exactly the bread and butter of the Christian Dior name. However the designer has a loyal following from his six plus years as the Creative Director of Italian brand Jil Sander as well as his own eponymous label; and those supporters have been vocal in insisting that Mr. Simons is more than up to the task of filling the void at Dior.

A few months ago we reported on an interview given by Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, Dior’s parent company, in which the most powerful man in fashion indicated that he had perhaps had enough of larger than life personalities like Galliano and the instabilities they bring to fashion houses. So it could be argued that the selection of the sublimely subdued Raf Simons is less of a settling and more of a change in direction for the persona surrounding the Dior label. How much that change will effect their signature products and designs remains to be seen, but considering that Mr. Simons has still not committed and that he is still under contact with Jil Sander there is still the possibility that all this speculation could be moot. For now the saga of Dior’s Creative Director search continues, but hopefully not for much longer.

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