We thought we were finally seeing some light at the end of the John Galliano replacement tunnel, but it turns out we might have been mistaken. Reports that Raf Simons is still in the running to take over the top job at Dior were amplified by his decision to leave Jil Sander this week, but sources say that a move to Dior might not be in the cards anymore.
Women’s Wear Daily reports that neither Simons nor the people who work at Jil Sander will comment on the designer’s next steps, though it has been confirmed that designer Jil Sander, who founded the brand in 1968, will return to replace him. Meanwhile, Simons is either being clandestine about what his next move will be, or he hasn’t fully figured it out yet.
As reported, the designer had been in discussions late last year with Christian Dior about becoming its sixth couturier and the successor to John Galliano. However, it is understood the parties failed to reach an agreement and it appears unlikely Simons will join the French firm.
Dior had no comment on Thursday, and the house has yet to reveal any plans regarding its creative leadership. The company is enjoying strong business momentum with its design teams under the creative leadership of Bill Gaytten, a longtime Galliano collaborator. Sources said Dior is mulling continuing with a team approach, possibly adding some young, up-and-coming talents.
So where does that leave Simons? WWD speculates that he might have his eye on Stefano Pilati‘s job at Yves Saint Laurent. Pilati’s contract ends next month, and Simons could be next in line to take over the French fashion house if that contract isn’t renewed. Still, it seems like every four months there’s another rumor about Pilati getting canned, and it never turns out to be true.
A slightly more likely scenario is that he will focus on developing his own eponymous label, which currently just has men’s clothing. Simons only started designing women’s clothing when he took over at Jil Sander in 2005, and it’s said that he’s keen to add it to his personal repertoire. Stylist Anna Dello Russo told Fashionista just this week that “maybe adding womens next to men” would be a good direction for him to go in.
The complication, however, is that Simons’ line doesn’t have financing for his label. Simons left Futurenet, the company that owned his label, last January, and although he’s presented menswear collections since then, he hasn’t been formally linked to another financier. Maybe leaving Jil Sander will free up time for him to look for the support he’d need to build his men’s line into a full collection? We’ll have to wait and see.