For everyone who was super-excited about the rumours, sparked this weekend by a report in the IHT, that Jil Sander’s Raf Simons was going to take over from Stefano Pilati as head designer at Yves Saint Laurent: well, Paul Deneuve, YSL’s chief executive, just told me it wasn’t true.
So there’s the official line.
But ooh, wasn’t the speculation fun? It actually trumped the Christian Dior/Marc Jacobs whispers for a moment there.
Indeed, it’s interesting that Mr Simons, who has made both a critical and commercial success of Jil Sander, and has been one of the few “createurs” to make things work with both private equity owners (Sander was bought by Change Capital Partners from Prada in 2006) and a manufacturer (Onward Holdings in turn bought Sander in 2008), has never been one of those short-listed for the Dior job. His aesthetic would actually work quite well for the house, and he has a strong tailoring background, with his eponymous men’s wear line.
In some ways I think Mr Simons would be a more logical choice for Dior than for YSL: he doesn’t have that decadent sense of twisted sexuality that runs through YSL and that current designer Stefano Pilati occasionally taps into; his aesthetic tends to be more analytical and intellectual. He does, however, have the love of architecture and volume that originally marked Dior, and that got a little lost in John Galliano’s historical fantasies. He could also handle the corporate politics of the job, which have been a stumbling block for many of the other designers whose names have come up in relation to the post.
All of which is to say: whether or not this particular rumour was true (and just because it isn’t true today does not mean it won’t be true next year), one of these big groups – LVMH (which Dior owns) or PPR (which owns YSL) – should try to get their hands on Mr Simons.
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