Raf reviews for Dior appointee

News that Christian Dior had appointed Raf Simons as its artistic director was greeted with exclamations of ‘finally!’ from the global fashion press.

But how do industry insiders view the choice of Simons, a purist who only came to womenswear when he joined Jil Sander in 2005, for one of fashion’s loftiest posts?

‘Raf Simons to Dior is revolutionary thinking,’ Liberty Managing Director Ed Burstell told us. ‘He is the rare designer whose sensitivity is reflected in every collection—feminine, creative and visionary. And like the legacy of the house, perhaps we are on the verge of the next “New Look”.’

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‘Raf Simons is one of the most exciting designers around at the moment,’ said Laura Larbalestier, buying manager for womenswear at Selfridges. ‘The ideas that he works to are fascinating to see and his influence within the fashion industry is vast. Not only does he impress us with his collections on the runway but his designs at Jil Sander have been some of the strongest to affect high street trends recently too. His appointment is really interesting for Dior and all eyes will certainly be on his first collection later this year.’

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Joan Burstein, the Browns founder and noted talent-spotter, said: ‘It is not a surprise that he has got this position as he bought another dimension to Jil Sander as far as sophistication and a touch of glamour was concerned. And I am sure he will have the opportunity to develop his great talent at Dior.’ELLE Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Candy praised Simons’ ‘singular vision.’

‘Raf is one of the most talented and individual designers in the industry today with a strong singular vision,’ she said. ‘He is a very likeable man and I very much hope he can keep his head while all the eyes of the fashion world are upon him and that he isn’t judged too soon after taking on such a huge role.

‘There is a weight of expectation around him that would be difficult to work under so I really hope he can ignore that and do what he does best which is dress women well.’

Learn more about Raf Simons' move to Dior

Read about the rise of Raf in our profile from the May 2009 issue

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