The first shocking announcement came yesterday morning when the brand announced that Raf Simons, the hugely respected (and successful) creative director of Jil Sander for the past seven years would step down on Monday, after showing the brand’s fall 2012 collection. News reports immediately suggested that Simons was off to Dior (an idea last mentioned months ago) and that Sander herself would return to her namesake brand.
This morning, the Jil Sander Group confirmed the namesake designer’s return on February 28th (the same day Simons leaves). In a statement, the new/old designer said, “I am very happy and excited to be back. It feels like coming home after a brief journey. The fashion world needs original voices and genuine signatures. I will do my best to, once again, join the choir…Paradigms change and evolve from season to season, but the heart of a brand doesn’t alter. It will be a great challenge and a greater joy to design Jil Sander’s contemporary identity. I am convinced that the moment is as favorable as could be wished.” It sounds strange to say that she has big shoes to fill, since it’s her own name on the label, but Simons has secured legions of loyal customer and even Miuccia Prada told Cathy Horyn yesterday, “I am even more surprised that Jil Sander might be returning.”
Meanwhile, the idea that Simons will head to Dior seems to have gone out of fashion before there was much chance to discuss. Yesterday, Anna Dello Russo told Fashionista that she suspects he’s going to work on his own collection (adding women’s wear, hopefully), while WWD wrote of last September’s talks between LVMH and Simons: “it is understood the parties failed to reach an agreement and it appears unlikely Simons will join the French firm.”