RAF SIMONS has spoken about his future for the first time since leaving Dior. The designer, who ended his tenure at the French house last year after just three years in charge, has spent recent months focusing on his eponymous menswear line – although industry talk of another creative director role, most notably at Calvin Klein, has never been far away. Simons, for his part, isn’t ruling anything out, intimating that the size of his own label “may necessitate taking other creative director roles at other labels”, “to shore up his own business and keep its expression free”.
“I needed a challenge,” he told T Magazine of his move to Dior. ”Jil is a niche brand. And I think it wouldn’t have been a challenge to take on another niche brand. It’s not only the style, it’s not only the aesthetic, it’s also how it sits in the fashion world, how people look at it, and how people criticise it; how it’s communicating with so many different women.”
Simons is also philosophical about his time at Dior, reflecting that he never really took the role to his heart in the same way as his own label. Writer Alexander Fury notes, “I remember something he said to me, for a profile I was writing in the Independent magazine more than a year before he left Dior: ‘My opinion is that being a creative director in a huge institution is: you enter, and you’re going to go out. I could never take the attitude that this thing stands or falls with me. No. My brand, yes, but Dior or Jil, no. I don’t experience it as something that I have to make mine. It’s not mine.” And it seems he still feels the same way now, six months after his departure.
“When you start performing as the creative director of another brand, you realise how much it’s not your own personal codes,” he said. “How different those two are. You could really work your ass off, really bring a lot of your own thing, but it’s not the same thing. I didn’t really think it over, but with my own brand I have become very protective, almost. Doing literally what I want to do, that relates to its own history or my own history or my own being.”