With the fashion set still reeling from the news of Raf Simons’ abrupt departure from Dior exactly two weeks ago, it seems about time we got some answers. Lanvin’s creative director Alber Elbaz was forced out of his position just days later. It was equally surprising news, but it came with somewhat of an explanation. With Simons, we were given nothing. Was he fatigued? Did he accomplish what he’d set out to do? Did he get in a tiff with the LVMH heads?
Swooping in with answers is Cathy Horyn, who sat down with Simons before his announcement for an interview in the upcoming issue of System, which has been excerpted in the Business of Fashion. In the interview, Simons offers clues as to why it was time to say goodbye to one of fashion’s most recognisable brands. “When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process,” he concedes. “Technically, yes — the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let’s put it away for a week and think about it later. But that’s never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections.”
“And when I think back to the first couture show for Dior, in July 2012, I was concerned because we only had eight weeks. And now we never have time like that” – Raf Simons
How did that translate to churning out collections season after season? Everything had to be complete in three weeks, he explains, leaving no time to even brainstorm his next move. “Actually everything is done in three weeks, maximum five. And when I think back to the first couture show for Dior, in July 2012, I was concerned because we only had eight weeks. And now we never have time like that. And you know? It’s clearly possible to do it, if I have my ideas together. The machine is there. Of course, we have to push really hard. It’s not like we think the ideas and mushrooms come out of the ground.”
“The problem is when you have only one design team and six collections, there is no more thinking time,” he laments. “And I don’t want to do collections where I’m not thinking.”