"Fashion Became Pop": Raf Simons Explains His Dior Departure
The job of a creative director is far different and far more demanding from what it was four years ago. And if anything is a testament to that fact, it’s the news of the departures of Alber Elbaz from Lanvin and Raf Simons from Dior.
In a recent interview with Business of Fashion, Raf Simons opened up about his experience as Dior’s creative director, and talked about the importance of “incubation time” for creative ideas that is rapidly disappearing in the fashion world. The designer said he felt creatively stifled, and explained how there is hardly enough time in the year to produce six shows, and even less to make each of them vital to the brand. “Technically speaking, it works,” he said, praising the efficiency of his teams. “Does it work for me emotionally? No, because I’m not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast.”
About a week after news of Simons’s departure from Dior hit the blogosphere, it was announced that designer Abler Elbaz was to be dismissed from his station as Lanvin’s creative director. Elbaz, who had been at Lanvin for fourteen years, echoed Simons’s sentiments about the speed at which collections are produced. He said after his SS16 show that he was tired of creating collections that were “only for photographs,” and that he didn’t even know “what a collection is anymore… I tried everything and did nothing.” The whole process of creating a collection and putting on a show, he said, had started to leave him feeling depressed.
It has been rumored that Elbaz might succeed Simons as Dior’s next creative director, but seeing as both designers have similarly pessimistic mindsets about the rapid commercialization and social-media-centrism of the industry, this doesn’t seem very likely. As for right now, Elbaz and Simons have a little time to breathe—the latter is currently taking a much-deserved holiday in Disneyland Paris.
Both designers had revitalized the brands they headed, and their vocal admonition of the current state of the corporate fashion world raises some important questions. Is it possible for a project born entirely out of creative inspiration to survive on its own, or do the departures of Simons and Elbaz signal the end of an era? “Can ideas only work within existing systems?” Simons asks. “That’s what I wonder.” There are clearly a lot of things still left for the designer to consider. Hopefully taking some time off will help him find the answers he is looking for.
Images via Vogue.