After John Galliano departed Christian Dior last March, no fashion person has held a conversation without the question coming up: "Who do you think will take over Dior?" Finally there's an answer to all the speculation and discussion: Jil Sander ex designer Raf Simons is Dior's new artistic director.
Simons left Jil Sander in March, when the Paris based label showed what's considered to be Simon's greatest show: a triumph of chic simplicity and flattering dresses and coats in pale pinks, camel and bright red. It was both soft and subtle, and powerful and sexy. After Jil Sander, the German designer famous for luxe ultra simplicity, left her own brand, Simons took it over, and every single collection's been better than the last. He introduced florals and neon trends in the simplest of ways, and his use of color has only gotten more interesting over time. He's made Jil Sander into a much younger brand, one both stores and fashionistas gush over. In other words, a hot ticket that's up there with the likes of Lanvin and Givenchy.
Simons is just one of the names that was bandied about for a while for the Dior job. At first, the names included Marc Jacobs, Lanvin's Albert Elbaz, Givenchy's Riccardo Tischi, before Haider Ackermann's name rose to the top. All those other designers turned down the job, as they are happy with the artistic freedom they have, and didn't want to follow in Galliano's shoes. Galliano, for all his spectacle, is an acknowledged genius.
When Simons resigned Jil Sander in March, the reason given is that founder Jil Sander herself is going back to the brand. At the time, the New York Times published a story on what a waste of talent that was, speculating that Simmons is at the top of his game. There were even tears at the last Simmons-designed Sander show -- those clothes will be arriving to stores in August, and will no doubt, sell out. Meanwhile, the shy Begian is now well on his way to becoming the most famous designer in the world. We'll see how he deals with Dior couture this July in Paris, when he shows his first collection for the French fashion house. Meanwhile, Charlize Theron, Mila Kunis and Marion Cotillard are all Dior brand ambassadors, and will probably turn up for his couture debut.
And Haider Ackermann? He's still in line to take over the reigns of Chanel if and when Karl Lagerfeld steps down.