If you’ve been as fond of Dior‘s handbags as we’ve been lately, we have some unfortunate news to share this morning. Raf Simons, Dior’s much-lauded creative director of 3.5 years, has decided not to renew his contract with LVMH, the brand’s parent company, according to an announcement made yesterday in Paris.

The Cut’s Cathy Horyn, who has covered Simons’ career closely for years, has the most comprehensive analysis of the decision, and it’s clear this isn’t a case of a brand’s executives pressuring a designer to leave or be publicly fired. Horyn reports that LVMH execs have had nothing but praise for Simons and that his designs have driven a 60% increase in Dior’s sales since his arrival in 2011, as well as wide critical acclaim. Instead, by Horyn’s estimation, it seems as though Simons simply wants to do other, perhaps less stressful things; his motivations were described only as “personal reasons.”

Spring 2016, presented earlier this month in Paris, is Simons’ last collection for the brand, and LVMH has not named his successor, although the company will surely have the pick of the litter for such a coveted, high-profile role. We’re certainly going to miss Raf Simons’ influence on the brand’s bags, though.

Since joining the Dior staff in 2011, Simons has overseen an expansion of the brand’s handbag line, including design debuts like the Diorama, Diorissimo and Be Dior bags, as well as an expanded Lady Dior line. The expansion, which was characterized by Simons’ modernism mixed with Dior’s signature ladylike polish, was largely well-received, with a clear uptick in consumer interest (our now-very-busy Dior subform on the PurseForum can attest to that) and more celebrities carrying the bags than ever, which tends to be influential on luxury shoppers.

When LVMH announces who will take Simons’ place at Dior, we’ll let you know. How do you feel about the news of his departure?

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  • Elisa

    Very sad but I think they should promote Bill Gaytten, who took the reigns for the couture collection after Galliano was fired. And I understand Simon’s frustrations with having to put out so many collections each year. It’s getting a bit out of control and as consumers, there is very little time to actually wear and enjoy the clothes before they become “so last season.” Designers like Azzedine Alaia show only when they want to, but Simons is controlled by LVMH. Also, atleast this way Simons leaves pn a high note.

    • dela

      Agree 100%!

    • Vicky

      Totally agree!

    • fashioni8

      I think they should promote Angel Barta, she is a very talented designer. Raf Simons copied Angel’s designs and her campaigns is his last collections. Check out the original photos at styleangelique.blogspot.com

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  • Sara

    In my opinion, the Diorama is the only bag that has successfully upstaged Chanel flap & boy. I always wondered who was the brains behind that. His other bags are equally impressive and timelss. This is sad for Dior as it was finally getting a steady pulse.

  • Yoshi1296

    I AM SO SAD!!! He was truly amazing. I hope they don’t hire someone like that sweatshirt designing reject they just hired at Balenciaga…

  • GreenApple18r

    I must be the only one who’s actually happy. I didn’t like his clothes(Diorama is nice though). I don’t think he should be doing high fashion.

  • FashionableLena

    Not a bit sad. I wasn’t convinced that Simons was ever right for Dior.

  • SPA

    I thought the movie ‘Dior and I’ was great.

  • Jack Neill

    I knew it was bound to happen. Dior is a brand that closely observes and follows Chanel in terms of design and price points. Raf Simmons designs fell short of living up to the mark left by Galliano. In addition his clothes, workmanship, designs all fell short to really grab attention. I was really bored watching his shows.
    He tried to remake the Miss Dior only to find sales for that bag fell short ending up with the line getting cancelled. I did however appreciate him releasing Lady Dior’s in regular calf skin with leather interiors. For a bag with that price point and heritage I always felt there should have been an all leather option. I bought one for my mom. So although I did not appreciate his aesthetic or design sensibilities I ended up buying one of his products.