After more than a year without a creative director, Dior will name former Jil Sander designer Raf Simons for the job, reports the New York Times. The posting ends rampant speculation over who would fill John Galliano’s considerable shoes after he was fired from the Paris house last March after accusations arose that the designer made anti-Semitic comments to patrons in a Paris café. Both Dior and Natalie Portman, the face of the Miss Dior Chérie fragrance, distanced themselves from Galliano, and the fashion press bandied about rumours that everyone from Christopher Kane to Alber Elbaz to Marc Jacobs were in line for the position. (The Jacobs talks were said to have broken down over compensation.)
Talks between Simons and Dior, have been ongoing since the fall, and the designer has recently been the subject of his own headlines. The Belgian was abruptly fired from his post at Jil Sander, where he took the reins in 2005, in order to make way for the return of the label’s founder. His final collection for the house, presented in February during Milan Fashion Week, garnered an emotional reaction from the usually-staid fashion crowd.
During his time at Jil Sander, Simons, originally a menswear designer, developed a reputation for building modern, minimalist couture shapes in striking colours. The move to Dior would mean taking on a substantially larger and more international brand, as well as working in haute couture for the first time. He tells the Times: “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.”
The announcement of Simons’ appointment is expected to come from Dior on Wednesday. There has been no word yet on when the designer’s first collection will debut.