Raf Simons Dior
Raf Simons Dior

Realreal Debate: Who Should Replace Raf Simons at Dior?

Words by Lauren | 10.23.15
When the news hit yesterday that Raf Simons would be exiting Dior, our team, like the rest of the industry, was shocked. There were IMs, and emails, and conversations in the break room as we all speculated what went amiss — and more so, who would be stepping in to replace the lauded designer who made an indelible impression on the fashion house in such a short time span. So we turned to two of our resident fashionphiles, Business Development Manager Eric Antos and Photo Editor Erika Kettleson, to debate their picks for a worthy Raf Simons successor (while we listened in).

Raf Simons DiorThere’s speculation that Riccardo Tisci, Phoebe Philo or Alber Elbaz might replace Raf Simons as Creative Director of Dior, but all of those designers are bringing in impressive profits and have helped to redefine the codes of their brands — I can’t see them leaving. You agree?
erika photoYeah, I don’t see them leaving either. I’d obviously love to see what Phoebe Philo would do with Dior. She has the sharp tailoring expertise and she plays with modern femininity, but she’s RAGING at Céline right now and I can’t imagine even Dior would get her to move to Paris.
Raf Simons DiorI initially thought Erdem was ideal because of his focus on feminine silhouettes and floral prints — very true to the Dior house codes. But Erdem hasn’t explored as deeply into tailoring.
erika photoI think Erdem would be better taking over Dries Van Noten — not that I’m forecasting a departure from that house! Erdem SS16 had hints of Raf from a few seasons ago . . .
erika photoBut I think Erdem has a bit too much boho in his heart to tackle the structure that Dior demands. OK, crazy idea: Marques ‘ Almeida! FRESH FRESH FRESH and could be tremendous!
Raf Simons DiorI definitely agree! Given their recent LVMH prize, it would be amazing to see them at the helm of Dior, and now that they’ve branched out into handbags and shoes, I can only imagine the major buzz they would create in the accessories world!
erika photoThey are essentially unknown beyond fashion people, but with Alessandro Michele’s success at Gucci, unknown might be a better route. They def play with suiting, and they remind me of the sort of louche attitude of Galliano’s Dior.
Raf Simons DiorI like that both of us are looking at British designers here. There’s definitely been a lot of buzz from London, and it would be amazing to see a British designer at the helm.
erika photoSpeaking of which . . . can we please talk about John Galliano? I know it’s basically forbidden in fashion circles to bring him up, but I grew up with Galliano’s Dior and his outrageous sense of drama.
erika photoWe keep going back to tailoring for Dior — I think what we actually mean is technical craftsmanship, and Galliano could get away with his insane Dior collections, because they were grounded in perfect construction. Remember the volume in SS04 Couture?!!
erika photoDior was born from an aesthetic revolution — 1947 was huge — so whoever takes over for Raf, I just want them to continue the tradition of excitement and new-ness that has been the brand’s legacy.
Raf Simons DiorI agree, we need more new silhouettes and more innovation, like Nicolas at Balenciaga, Junya Watanabe, Rei Kawakubo . . . What about Meadham Kirchhoff? They have the Galliano spirit, and I can only imagine the shows and collections they could create for Dior — it would be out of this world!
erika photoHOW DID I FORGET MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF?!! They last showed in London for SS15, so I think they’ll be available for hire come FW16! VERY bombastic with a phenom sense of humor, but I can’t imagine literally anyone who buys retail Dior wanting that aesthetic.
erika photoA house like Dior is def centered around sales. I think the strong sales that Marques is driving is a really good point — we want it to be weird, but we also want it to work.
Raf Simons DiorGiambattista Valli should be the front-runner, in my opinion. Like Dior, he produces the necessary Resort and Pre-Fall collections and he can handle couture.
Raf Simons Dior
He touches upon feminine styles and grandiose silhouettes frequently, and he could develop the edge he has applied to his Giamba collection into moving Dior forward, like Raf himself.
erika photoYES! He has a classic femininity, but he knows how to temper it with unexpected prints, sharpness and embellishment — things we all love about Raf’s Dior.
Raf Simons DiorI think he could also bring something refreshing to the tailoring aspect of Dior. It’d be great to see what he does with the iconic Bar jacket. He would be solid gold.
erika photoI think we’re in agreement. As long as Dior isn’t lost to a minimalist, I’ll be happy, hah!
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