Raf Simons? Please close the Dior behind you

Sally Mu talks us through the recent exit of Dior’s creative director and what it means for the brand he’s left behind

  

Last month, one of fashion’s most revered brands, Christian Dior, announced the unexpected departure of its 47-year-old creative director Raf Simons after the close of trading on the Paris Bourse. Sadly, Dior’s amazing ready-to-wear SS/16 collection presented three weeks ago was Simons’s last. He ended a fruitful three-and-a-half year collaboration that saw the fabled and iconic French house tilt in a more artful and modernist direction.

Raf greeted the audience with a fairyland fleurs heaven by draping a mountain of blue, delightful delphiniums on his final fashion show and featuring magnificent, Victorian lingerie-inspired fabric collection, by his ‘’purely classical approach’’ to create natural and feminine beauty for our next spring’s must-haves. The ‘lingerie as clothing’ collection was elegant, pure, feminine and ever so diaphanous but never underdressed.

His final show opened with the classic bar jacket, paired with cotton veil lingerie tops and shorts, most looks thereafter played with material tensions and we were encouraged to be wearing plenty of cloud-like dreamy organza, fitted co-ords, fierce knitwear, tailored suits and lingerie as outerwear. Raf has clearly created garments so minimal and effortless-looking that manage to make delicate garments also seem bold and brilliant. Moreover, the scalloped pastel-hued Victorian organza seems like a new innovative way to look effortlessly chic, as though we just rolled out of bed.

“DIOR IS NOW LEFT WITH THE DAUNTING TASK OF FILLING SIMONS’S ROLE AS WELL AS FACING THE CHALLENGES AFTER HIS DEPARTURE AS A RESULT”

Raf’s Dior was undoubtedly a powerful chapter in the history of the brand. He took Dior and injected a new energy and modern twist into the one of the most prestigious luxury houses in the industry. He is also credited with modernising the label and has brought on new ambassadors including Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna since his arrival in 2012.

Yet, Dior has never come down from its original heightened state of elegance. After Simons’s arrival, almost overnight the street-style hits began to flow, bringing a new generation of fun-loving but seriously successful ‘Dior girls’ in party-ready Street-sharp creations on his Cruise 2016. This modernist and enthusiastic fan of contemporary art hasn’t always fitted with fit with the romantic and historical house of Dior, such as his most recent haute couture and jaw-dropping cruise collections which received universal critical reviews. Dior is now left with the daunting task of filling Simons’s role as well as facing the challenges after his departure as a result. The change comes at a moment when companies are reconsidering the qualities they expect from a heritage brand, and in some cases, changing the rules.

Raf previously stated that he is somewhat exhausted by the fast speed of the present fashion world, whether Dior chooses someone who can stay true to the classic style or someone who will bring their own twist to it, the important thing is that they find someone who is able to keep up with the fashion world’s increasingly fast pace for more than just a few years, because it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Whatever his reasons, Raf’s left Dior at the top of his career, and finally we shall all very warmly say goodbye to him and thank him for providing us with an extraordinary and ever-so-amazing Raf’s Dior.