Raf Simons confirmed as Artistic Director of Christian Dior

The Belgian designer will replace the disgraced John Galliano at the helm of the French label

It’s been more than a year since John Galliano was sensationally sacked from Christian Dior for anti-Semitism, but the label has finally named his replacement: Raf Simons.

The Belgian designer has been confirmed as the chief designer at the French fashion house, taking charge with immediate effect.

Speculation about Simons’ possible switch to the vacated post at Dior first surfaced in February when he left his role at Jil Sander after seven years at the helm.

His appointment follows more than a year of careful discussions and interviews by Dior and its boss, LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, to find the right man for the job. He takes over from Bill Gayten, Galliano’s former assistant, who stepped in as the designer at Dior following last year’s scandal.

In an interview with The New York Times yesterday, Simons talked about the inspiration for his first collections: ‘Of course, I haven’t been in the archives yet, but for me the strongest impact is the first 10 years of Dior and how to link that to the 21st century. Mr Dior was very innovative during a short time span. And it was in the middle of the 20th century, a period I am very interested in, whether it’s linked to fashion, architecture or art. So I find it very challenging to rethink couture.’

Other contenders who were hotly tipped to take up the post included Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz and Marc Jacobs, with the latter’s negotiations collapsing over a dispute over money despite already being employed by the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, which also owns Louis Vuitton where he currently designs.

Simons’ debut collection for Dior will show during Couture Fashion Week in Paris in July.

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