Like the rest of you, I was rather devastated when I heard that Raf was leaving Dior. I had only recently come around to him at the brand and ever since I was enjoying looking back at his past work and loving the present. The announcement came a few weeks ago now, he cited “personal reasons”, and speculation about the relentless pace of the industry has been flying around ever since.
I was upset to find out that Raf had left. My jaw literally dropped when I got the email blast from every newsletter I’m signed up to because I just wasn’t expecting it. How could you leave Dior? The same thing happened when I realised that Alber Elbaz had been dismissed from Lanvin. It was too much drama in one week. However, in retrospect, Raf’s departure is actually less surprising. If you’ve seen the documentary Dior and I, you will see him struggling with the 8-week time frame which he is given to produce his debut couture collection. Since then, it has only gotten quicker. 6 shows a year. You’d think that would be 2 months on each collection, but he said it has been even less. In the interview, he said the time scale was three to five weeks. How is that even possible? How would one continue to come up with fresh ideas and develop them so quickly? I just don’t understand how it would work. What if you get creative block? Won’t you just get burned out? Maybe that’s what Raf realised – it is not sustainable. Preserve your creativity and work at a slower pace. What is next for Raf, we don’t know. However, I can only hope he is back in womenswear soon. Maybe this time he can do it on his own terms.
Finally, a thorough interview on the subject with Cathy Horyn has been released. Read it on Business of Fashion – here. However, this is not the full piece. To read this you need to buy the AW15 edition of System magazine which usually retails for around £10. I’d like to get my hands on it but I can never find it in newsagents around me. Sometimes they have it at the airport or in a bookshop though.