This Thursday, French fashion house Dior released a statement informing about the departure of Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons as its Artistic Director, putting an end to a three-and-a-half year collaboration with the designer’s last collection for Dior being the one presented on October 2nd. The one-page announcement published by the luxury fashion house stated that the motives underlying the Belgian’s designer departure are said to be of personal character.
“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.” Simons said in a statement.
The designer also thanked Bernard Arnault, owner of the Parisian fashion house, and its chief executive Sidney Toledano for this incredible experience:
“Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to be allowed to write a few pages of this magnificent book.”
According to some sources, another reason for the separation was that the company fell flat at reaching an agreement on a new employment contract, though the rift was amiable. The present event marks the second surprised exit of a designer in Dior’s recent history after John Galliano’s 2011 displacement due to his anti-Semitic comments at a Paris cafe. On this occasion, a wave of rumors did not took place to anticipate this shocking event.
.A search for a replacement has begun and with time running out since Dior’s next presentation will be next January, it is probable that a successor will be named shortly. According to different sources, candidates for Dior’s artistic direction may include Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci, Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, Alber Elbaz from Lanvin among others.As for the Belgian designer, it is said that he will fully concentrate on his menswear label based in Antwerp. Plans in the near future does not seem to include working for another fashion house since Simons had a non-compete agreement with Dior that will forbid him from working for another brands for some time.
The recent events, Simons recent departure along Wang’s exit from Balenciaga, could makes us wonder about the implications of directing your own label and working for a highly prestigious fashion house, as well as finding a work-life balance. For instance, one could consider the degree of freedom (be it time or creativity) one has between one label and the other. On one side you have the ”complete lead” to do as you may wish with your brand, but on the other side you have to follow a quick pace, and direct only certain sectors of a highly prestigious label that at no moment could you named as yours. Even this equilibrium search could be a tough work at the moment of designing the collections. Do we even have to mention the personal life of the designers? We already saw it with Wang’s departure from Balenciaga, the designer now can fully concentrate on his eponymous label; Simons also had a similar view regarding this. One of the lessons that new generations can probably learn is about finding a balance in an industry whose changes and coverage are more unprecedented and abrupt than ever.