Making the announcement at the end of trading on the Paris Bourse. Speaking of his decision, Simons stated that it was for 'personal reasons'
The designer set to take over the brand has yet to be named, however with the exit of Alber Elbaz with Lanvin, rumors are going into overdrive that he may well be the one taking over. Relationships between Simons and Dior were left in good tact though as the split was said to be without conflict on either side, after Simons and the company failed to come to an agreement when negotiating the renewal of his contract.
The announcement came as a shock to those in the industry and those within the Dior family, Not to mention the domino effect such a shake up can have on other fashion houses as it often creates a shuffle of many of the designers working in other houses.
In a statement, Simmons said:
“It is after careful and long consideration that I have decided to leave my position as creative director of Christian Dior's women’s collection,”
“It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside my work. Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book. I want to thank Mr. Bernard Arnault for the trust he has put in me, giving me the incredible opportunity to work at this beautiful house surrounded by the most amazing team one could ever dream of. I have also had the chance over the last few years to benefit from the leadership of Sidney Toledano. His thoughtful, heartfelt and inspired management will also remain as one of the most important experiences of my professional career.”
This has't been the first shocking departure for Dior. In 2011 John Galliano was forced to leave Dior as a result of his anti-semitic abusive comments at a Parisian cafe. The incident resulted in a conviction of public insult for Galliano as well as a backlash from fans of the brand as well as Natalie Portman, (the face of Dior perfume) declaring she would no longer work with the brand if he stayed. Dior themselves didn't feel the strain of the incident however and went on to prove good sales figures, with the second in command Bill Gaytten taking the lead and creating their trademark 50s inspired, feminine pieces.
It could be that Simons is leaving to focus more on his own line, in which he specializes in menswear, and is said to be showing his collection in Paris, however Simons has no shortage of offers from other design houses with many fans in the industry including Calvin Klein.
No decisions have been made as to who will take over from Simons, but rumor has it Riccardo Tisci, who has been Givenchy’s couturier since 2004, is likely to lead the list of potential candidates. Adding weight to this rumor, in 1996 Dior recruited Galliano from Givenchy.
My money is on Alber Elbaz. Dior were in talks with him as Galliano was forced to leave the brand, and now that he Elbaz has departed from Lanvin, he seems like the obvious choice, and timing could not be more perfect.
Other designers Dior were said to admire and were looking to after Galliano left were New York design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez (Provenza Schouler). Also on the list was Valentino’s design partners, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli but I'm hedging my bets on Elbaz!