BREAKING: Raf Simons to Exit Dior

Designer departs after SS16 collection

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After a three and half year tenure as creative director, Raf Simons is leaving Dior. On April 9 2012, it was confirmed that Simons would show his first collection during the Couture shows in July. Twenty collections later, Simons' surprise exit has left the fashion industry in shock.

The departure is reportedly amicable on both sides and was decided upon after the designer and the company failed to reach an agreement on a new employment contract. An abrupt exit nonetheless, as WWD confirms that the spring-summer 2016 collection Simons presented in a courtyard of the Louvre on October 2 was his last.

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In a statement, the 47-year-old ex-Jil Sander designer explained that he intends to focus on his own line, and interests outside of the fashion industry: 'It is after careful and long consideration that I have decided to leave my position as creative director of Christian Dior’s women’s collection. It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside my work.'

'Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book. I want to thank Mr. Bernard Arnault for the trust he has put in me, giving me the incredible opportunity to work at this beautiful house surrounded by the most amazing team one could ever dream of. I have also had the chance over the last few years to benefit from the leadership of Sidney Toledano. His thoughtful, heartfelt and inspired management will also remain as one of the most important experiences of my professional career.'

Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior SA, and Toledano, CEO of Christian Dior Couture, responded saying the group ‘acknowledge Raf Simons’ decision and very warmly thank him for his exceptional contribution to the house.’

The Dior throne has suffered some uncertainty since the 2011 expulsion of John Galliano - his second-in-command Bill Gaytten briefly took charge until Simons was appointed in April 2012.

Adored by fashion editors and celebrities alike (front row regulars include Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence), the rumour mill is already churning out speculative replacements. Is this where recently departed Balenciaga creative director Alexander Wang is headed? Thus far, Riccardo Tisci is rumoured to be a candidate, alongside New York design duo Proenza Schouler, who were pipped to take the helm at Balenciaga.

Read Rebecca Lowthorpe's predictions here.

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