So, finally Dior appointed a new artistic director after months of upheaval following the outrage caused by John Galliano’s anti-Semitic rants last year. Step up to the title… Raf Simons.
Placing the two designers side by side they are polar opposites (both professionally and personally), Galliano is notoriously flamboyant and extrovert both with his work and in his personality (the tirade last year is evidence of this), whereas Simons is clean, simple and understated, even his modest ‘pop your head around the corner’ style bow at the end of his shows is proof of this.
I only actually learnt recently that Raf Simons studied industrial design and not fashion. Since discovering this I look at his work in a whole new light and the architectural influences are suddenly very clear to see. Simons was creative director at Jil Sanders since 2005 and will leave behind what seemed to be a perfect pairing between the power-dressing label and the Belgian minimalist designer.
I find it very exciting to think what will become of the Dior fashion house under Simons creative control, looking back it is clear to see the look has gradually toned down since Galliano’s last show and Raf Simons could well be the one to reign in the signature style of the French couture label. The show overseen by Galliano’s creative colleague, Bill Gaytten, for A/W 12-13 in Paris was a much more sedate affair in comparison to what we are used to seeing, and a nod perhaps towards what is to come.
Raf Simons told the New York Times: “My aim is a very modern Dior, but at the end of the day, I also look back…I find that period between 1947 and 1957 extremely attractive, and there was a lot of modernity.” So perhaps this is what we should be expecting from his first show with Dior at Paris couture week in July.