On Monday, the house of Christian Dior announced the appointment of the new artistic director for its Haute Couture, women's ready-to-wear and accessories collections.
The rumours had been circulating non-stop, contradicting one another at every turn and fuelling high-flying parlour games among the chic fashion elite. To be sure, the information was charged with intrigue: who would become the successor to Christian Dior, the designer who would helm the house's Haute Couture and women's ready-to-wear collections?
The news landed Monday at 7pm Paris time: Raf Simons had been chosen to perpetuate the Dior style. The designer, who has been hailed by the press as one of the most talented of fashion world, began his career in 1995. He started with a menswear collection that became a regular highlight of the Paris men's fashion week. His style is precise, incisive, rigorous, architectural. In this sense, he connects with the tailored spirit of Christian Dior's original collections. But he also revealed great finesse and sensitivity in the work he did in women's ready-to-wear. The glamour that is Dior will find in him a worthy successor to the "New Look", as Simons himself has expressed a particular interest for the period between 1947 and 1957, the decade that spans the house's founding to the couturier's premature death.
In addition to sharing the vocation of couturier, Christian Dior and Raf Simons have another point in common: art. Dior collected art and frequented the artists of his day; between 1928 and 1934, he even joined forces with two friends to open a couple of art galleries. Simons is also truly passionate about art: he is a regular at the Frieze Art Fair in London, collects contemporary works and he stresses that he considers, just as Christian Dior did, that his career as a designer was impelled upon them, both self-educated designers, giving another dimension to his vocation: Art.
"I am delighted to join this great house," Simons stated in a short press release. "For me, Christian Dior has always been the greatest of all couturiers. The house of Dior is the symbol of absolute elegance. I have a profound respect for its unique know-how. I am fully aware of the honour and responsibility that are entrusted to me today as director of creation for the world's most famous French brand."
Raf Simons will present his first collection during the Haute Couture fashion week in July because, as has been the case throughout Dior's history, couture is at the heart of the house's creation.