Now that Marc Jacobs appears to be out of the picture at Christian Dior, industry sources said the French fashion house is closing in on a contract with acclaimed Belgian designer Raf Simons to become its next couturier.
A deal with Simons, 43, has yet to be concluded, and sources cautioned that several key details must be worked out. Chief among them would be a start date, given that Simons, creative director at Jil Sander since 2005, would have to unravel his contract with that Milan-based house, which is understood to have been extended recently for an unknown duration.
What’s more, given the rapid cycle of collections at a big couture house, it’s unlikely any newly installed designer would be able to produce a collection in time for Paris Fashion Week in March, let alone the couture in January.
Dior officials could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Should Dior secure Simons, it would mark the latest step up in an impressive career for the men’s wear maverick, who added women’s wear to his design repertoire only when he arrived at Sander.
It would also suggest Dior management is prepared to nudge the storied fashion house in a more modernist direction, given Simons’ predilection for minimalism and futurism.
Galliano, who brought spectacular showmanship and epic, romantic inspirations to Dior during his 15-year tenure, had recently been devoted to more ladylike dressing, turning out collections inspired by the founder’s earlier work and focusing on iconic styles such as its “bar” jacket and grand eveningwear. Dior presented his first collection in 1947.
Simons, too, has recently shown a fascination with midcentury couture, incorporating ballgowns — and even bridalwear — into recent collections, winning him rave reviews from fashion critics.
Simons has been on the radar of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, sister company of Dior, for some time. When Michael Kors wrapped up his stint as the designer of LVMH’s Celine house back in 2004, Simons was among candidates that advisers of luxury titan Bernard Arnault had been touting.
In recent years, Simons’ fashion star has continued to rise given a string of hit women’s shows for Sander. His spring-summer 2012 collection reimagined ideas from the Fifties into hyper-chic fashions for today.
According to sources, Simons had also been approached by Yves Saint Laurent, which has yet to indicate if it will extend its relationship with Stefano Pilati, who succeeded Tom Ford as the house’s chief designer in 2004. Pilati’s latest contract is due to expire in March.
Born in Neerpelt, Belgium, Simons moved to Genk and obtained a degree in industrial and furniture design in 1991. He segued from furniture into fashion and launched a youth-oriented, street-inspired collection of men’s wear in 1995.
He started showing it in Paris two years later, and quickly caused a sensation with his skinny tailoring, street casting, and such imposing runway venues such as La Grande Arche de la Défense.
A designer with an intellectual bent, Simons is also an enthusiastic fan of contemporary art — echoing Dior’s earlier background as an art dealer.
At Sander, he has elaborated on the German brand’s esthetic, adding dresses and eveningwear to its signature tailoring. “I knew in the long run I couldn’t only think about minimalism and purism,” he said in a 2008 interview.
For his spring 2011 collection, he invoked the grandeur of couture and the extravagant style of Elisabeth of Bavaria, the iconic royal, a riposte to other designers who had muscled in on minimalism. “It almost challenged me to the opposite, to do the idea of maximalism,” he told WWD at the time.
Earlier this year, Simons was an honoree at Fashion Group International’s Night of the Stars in New York.
Simons emerged as the new front-runner to succeed Galliano after talks to move Marc Jacobs over from Louis Vuitton came to a halt last month.
It is understood Dior has considered a wide swath of potential candidates, from young to mature talents, long insisting it would take all the time it needs to find a designer strongly matched to Dior’s DNA and ambitions.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)