French luxury label Dior has announced that head designer Raf Simons is stepping down. No successor has been named to replace the Belgian-born Simons at the LVMH-owned brand. In a statement provided to the press, Simons stated:
“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.”
Simons was a fashion establishment favorite and help calm the waters when he joined the label in 2012, arriving on the heels of designer John Galliano’s dramatic exit. Despite Dior’s good sales results under Simons, the news comes during what has been an overall difficult time for the luxury space, which has been hit by a drop off in demand for designer handbags after a long and hearty cycle, combined with the headwinds of a global ath-leisure trends that is less designer-logo friendly. The changes still being forced by the internet when it comes to how the consumer makes decisions about merchandise and shops are also negatively hitting the space.
It is quite possible Simons saw more challenges ahead and decided now was as good a time as any to jump off the treadmill and take back sole ownership and management of his talents.