|Photo via the New York Times|
After a year and half and three fashion weeks of waiting, Raf Simons has been appointed as creative director for the house Dior. While this inevitably will bring a sense of relief to investors and fans of the brand, it marks a new era for the house. Simons’ wildly successful run at Jil Sander is evidence of his ability to make commercially viable clothes, but one must beg the question: does Simons have the vision to move the Dior brand back into the fashion world’s good graces?
Season after season, Bill Gaytten created perfectly lovely, but uninspiring garments and while we can not expect anyone to live up to John Galliano’s eccentricity, we can hope for more. Simons, trained by Antwerp 6 alum Walter Van Beirendonck, has been overwhelmingly successful at interpreting codes of a pre-existing house as evidenced through his work at Jil Sander, but it remains to be seen how Simons’ decidedly Belgian aesthetic will interact with the historical weight of Dior’s patented codes. While Marc Jacobs and Haider Ackermann were more immediately obvious choices to direct the house, Simons has the potential to rewrite the aesthetic history of Dior.
In appointing Mr. Simons to fashion’s most coveted position, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy has taken an enormous risk, but I expect they will reap an enormous reward. The best fashion houses survive through innovation (See: CHANEL, Lanvin) and this appointment promises exactly that. Simons’ aesthetic seems diametrically opposed to that of Dior, however, it is an enormous opportunity for the house and for LVMH to reinvigorate a brand that seemed a bit staid, even under the direction of Galliano. It’s high time for the fashion world to experience a bit of excitement. Let’s hope Simons delivers.