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2012 February 23

Raf Simons Departs Jil Sander

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Patrick McMullan
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(NEW YORK) After six and a half years at Jil Sander, creative director Raf Simons is bidding adieu to the German brand on Monday. Simons took on the title in July 2005, designing his first men's collection for Fall 2006. This Saturday's show in Milan marks the designer's last for the label; next stop, Dior? Rumors of Simons as John Galliano's successor at Dior have been brewing for months, though nothing has been confirmed.

However, Simons' departure will usher in the return of Jil Sander to the eponymous brand she parted ways with eight years ago, as predicted by  German magazine Gala this morning and confirmed by The International Herald Tribune this afternoon, with the latter predicting a start date ASAP. The brand plans to formally announce its next creative director in the next few days, but has not yet verified that, or if, Sander will be back at Sander. 

Sander founded her label 44 years ago. In 1999, Prada purchased a sizable 75 percent stake; Sander remained involved as creative director and chairwoman for a brief six months before hastily resigning due to rifts with Patrizio Bertelli, Prada's CEO, causing most of her dedicated staffers to depart as well. Sander made a quick return to the label for a two-season stint in 2003 after (temporarily) quelling the drama with Bertelli. Since 2006, London-based private equity firm Change Capital Partners (CCP) has owned three-quarters of the Sander brand, after buying out Prada's stake. 

The company said its farewells to its critically acclaimed creative director of late via a statement praising “Simons for his dedicated commitment to the brand, throughout these years, and wishes him the very best for the future.” Stay tuned for further intel on Sander's and Simons' next moves! 

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