by Lester Brathwaite on
For a while it seemed that every other week there was a new rumor regarding who would take over the reigns at Christian Dior. Recently, however, only one name has been circulating around town: Raf Simons. As reported in December, Dior and LVMH were close to signing the designer since the Marc Jacobs talks famously fell through — but if Simons abandoned his post at Jil Sander, who would take over? Won’t the real Jil Sander please stand up?
German-born designer Jil Sander founded her eponymous label in 1968 and served as its creative director until 2000, a year after Prada bought a 75% stake in the company. Sander butted heads with Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli and resigned as creative director and chairwoman, nearly all of her design and production team leaving with her.
The Jil Sander label then suffered, creatively and commercially, reporting its first ever net loss at $9.4 million. Bertelli had once said ”A brand as strong as Jil Sander doesn’t need to rely on the name of a designer,” but there he was, figuratively on his hands and knees, negotiating a truce with Sander, who returned in 2003 to head the label. But that truce too proved short-lived and Sander wiped her hands of Bertelli and Prada for good in 2004.
In 2005, Raf Simons was brought in to replace Sander as creative director to great effect and just a year later Jil Sander was sold to British private equity firm Change Capital Partners for $120 million. Simons has successfully reinvigorated the brand while remaining true to its minimalist roots, making it a hit with both critics and consumers alike, and as a result his contract with the brand was recently extended for an unknown period.
However, Gala, a German tabloid, reports that Sander, now 68, could return to the house she built over 40 years ago in as little as four weeks, making way for an announcement — perhaps during Paris Fashion Week — that would finally silence the rumor mill and put a nail in the coffin of Gallianogate. [Telegraph]