April 20, 2012 by Courtney.Wylie
Seven months ago, John Galliano, former design director of Christian Dior, was convicted of assault after allegedly making aggressive anti-Semitic remarks toward fellow patrons at the La Perle cafe in Paris. The remarks made by Galliano were caught on tape while he verbally attacked the couple with phrases such as “I love Hitler” and “Dirty Jewish face, you would be dead.” This was the second reported incident that Galliano had made anti-Semitic remarks in public.
Otherwise known for his outlandish yet innovative and ingenious designs, as well as having an everlasting impact on the fashion industry, Galliano lasted from 1997 to 2011 at Dior before the LVMH luxury megahouse dismissed him the day after the cafe incident.
Ultimately, the court ruling spared Galliano time behind bars but laid a fine of approximately $8,500 on him. According to The New York Times, the court ruling considered Galliano’s decision to seek drug and alcohol treatment as well as a heartfelt apology in combination with a said “blacking out” due to his addiction to Valium and alcohol.
Ever since the dismissal of Galliano over a year ago, there has been much speculation of who will take the position and if his successor will be able to propel the brand even further as a fashion industry heavyweight. In fact, designers such as Marc Jacobs of Louis Vuitton and Alber Elbaz of Lanvin were among LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault’s options for filling the spot at Dior.
Although most were counting on all-American designer Marc Jacobs to take the job, he refused to leave Louis Vuitton after claiming in an interview with Telegraph that he is “very happy to be here. There is so much more left to do, and building Louis Vuitton into a fashion company is something nobody else can say they really started.”
Arnault carefully sought out other top-tier designers until he found a pleasantly twisted fit for Dior. When Jil Sander announced in February that she would return to the Jil Sander label, the wheels in the rumor mill began to turn, and the idea that Raf Simons could possibly replace Galliano was basically solidified.
More than a year has passed, and with a justifiably strategic and tedious decision process, Dior has finally chosen the magnificent Raf Simons as artistic director. Previously, the Belgian designer worked for six years at Jil Sander and is worshiped for his sensibility while transitioning mid-century pieces into modern wear, a talent that may come in use at Christian Dior.
Additionally, Simons is known for his impeccable skill and having an overall minimalistic approach. The looming question that has stricken the fashion industry still remains: What should fashion enthusiasts expect from a typically minimal Raf Simons for his first Dior collection in July?
In a WWD article, Raf Simons answers the questions he’s been hearing since his appointment as artistic director to Dior last week. Simons explained, “I don’t think it’s wrong to call me a minimalist. It’s wrong to call me a minimalist only,” duly noting that he is “also a romantic person.”
Let us not forget the understatedly cool pieces Simons released for Jil Sander’s Spring 2011 Collection such as the market bag, which was created to be charmingly affordable. Not to mention, Simons has obtained a large cultlike following from famous celebrities like Diane Kruger and Kate Bosworth, among others.
Want to know who is to blame for the fluorescent color craze that we’re all addicted to? Blame Simons for his couture-like approach when he created the floor-grazing skirts and bright palazzo pants that dotted the Jil Sander spring 2011 runway.
It has been years since people began to recognize Simons’ ability to dabble in couture, yet people still question his plans at Dior. He is a creative genius in a way that editors and bloggers love him, designers adore him and models swarm him. Meanwhile, commoners like me sit back and fantasize about what’s in store for the French fashion house that Simons holds in the palm of his hand.
While skeptics speculate whether or not Simons will sink or swim in the world of couture, many others recognize his talent well enough to know he will make his presence known come Paris haute couture fashion week in July. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait patiently and put our trust in the newly appointed Raf Simons.