After an extremely successful three-and-a-half years at the helm of Christian Dior, Raf Simons has announced he will not be renewing his contract with the French fashion house and his SS16 floral extravaganza show held at the Louvre on 2 October was his last.
Dior confirmed Simons was leaving for "personal reasons" in a statement from Sidney Toledano, CEO of Christian Dior couture and that the decision was amicable.
"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," Simons, 47, said in a statement acquired by WWD. "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."
The Belgian designer took the position at Dior in 2012 after John Galliano's dramatic exit in 2011 and immediately won critics over with his first collection for the house presented during couture week. The visionary, modern design aesthetic he had previously displayed at Jil Sander was combined seamlessly with the historical silhouette of Dior's classic pieces to create a winning formula. This was reflected in the sales, as The Cut announced Dior had seen a 60% increase in profit since 2011 as well as Christian Dior Couture seeing a rise of 18%, to $1.94bn (£1.26bn).
As noted in his statement, Simons will be able to focus on his own eponymous brand that was launched in 1995 and given the excessive workload at a fashion house as large as Dior has not been able to dedicate enough time to. His incredible vision and frankly insane workload was documented in detail in documentary Dior And I, which followed the creation of his first couture collection for the house.
Naturally, talk will now turn to who will replace Simons as creative director. There is speculation Riccardo Tisci who is currently heading up French luxury brand Givenchy, as well as talks that Jonathan Anderson is taking over. Anderson currently heads up his eponymous label as well as his appointment at luxury Spanish label Loewe.