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Raf Simons to leave as creative director at Dior

Raf Simons is leaving Dior after three and a half years as creative director at the Parisian fashion house.

The news will come as a surprise to many in the fashion industry, given the positive reception afforded to Simons’ work for Dior. It also leaves one of the most prestigious jobs in fashion tantalisingly vacant.

A model on the Dior spring/summer 2016

catwalk. Photograph: Victor Boyko/WireImage

Before taking up the role at Dior, Belgian-born Simons was a menswear designer and creative director at minimalist label Jil Sander and was famous for his precise, unfussy designs. His appointment initially raised eyebrows, as critics wondered how he would marry this vision with the grandeur and glamour of a house most famous for the curves of the New Look in the 1950s.

Earlier this year, the melding of these two cultures was explored in the documentary Dior and I which followed Simons’ progress as he prepared for his first couture collection at the house. His resulting work took inspiration from Dior’s heritage but also modernised the brand, combining science-fiction influences and PVC boots with fit-and-flare tailoring. Under Simons’ tenure, Dior also appointed Rihanna as its first black campaign star.

Raf Simons in a scene from Dior and I, 2014. Photograph: Everett/Rex Shutterstock

Dior’s statement said that Simons had decided to leave for personal reasons and clarified that the collection presented in Paris earlier this month was Simons’ last for the house.

“It is after careful and long consideration that I have decided to leave my position as creative director of Christian Dior Couture 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 of my work,” said Simons in a statement.

“Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to be allowed to write a few pages of this magnificent book.”

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