Raf Simons has stepped down from his role as creative director of Christian Dior to focus on his own label after only three and half years at the French couture house.

The designer, who joined the fashion brand owned by French luxury group LVMH in 2012, decided not to renew his contract, Christian Dior said late on Thursday. The collection Mr Simons presented in Paris earlier this month was his last one for Dior.

“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,” Mr Simons said in a statement.

The Belgian-born designer thanked Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s owner, as well as Sidney Toledano, Christian Dior’s chief executive, for their collaboration. In the same statement, Mr Arnault and Mr Toledano thanked him “very warmly for his exceptional contribution to the house”.

The company, headquartered in Paris, did not elaborate on plans to find a successor.

Mr Simons, 47, became Dior’s chief designer after the dismissal of John Galliano following an anti-semitic outburst.

Mr Simons, a self-trained fashion designer who started his own eponymous label in 1995 and joined Jil Sander in 2005, has been credited for strong revenue growth at Dior couture in recent years.

Sales at the 68-year-old brand rose 13 per cent in the six months to December 31 to €854m, from the same period a year earlier. Operating profit advanced 11 per cent to €120m.

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