February 23, 2012 / 5:13 PM / 7 years ago

Designer Raf Simons to leave Jil Sander

MILAN (Reuters) - Belgian designer Raf Simons will leave Jil Sander after his autumn/winter catwalk show in Milan this week, the fashion house said Thursday.

“Jil Sander and Raf Simons have mutually agreed that the designer will leave his job on February 27,” the fashion house said in a statement. “The Jil Sander group will announce its new creative director shortly.”

The move comes amid media speculation that the avant-garde German designer Jil Sander may return to the helm of the fashion house she founded in the 70s.

Simons joined Jil Sander in 2005. The 2012 autumn/winter collection, which will be presented Friday, will be his last for the fashion house.

Known for his understated looks, Simons has been mooted in the media as a front-runner for the creative designer job at Christian Dior, which has been vacant since John Galliano left last year following a scandal involving racist remarks.

Last month, Dior shrugged off talk about who might succeed Galliano.

It was not immediately possible to reach Simons and his staff for a comment.

Simons, who has also launched his own line Raf by Raf Simons, emerged in the 1990s as an innovative menswear designer, merging youth culture with traditional looks.

Born in 1943, minimalist Sander has been one of the most influential designers of the 70s. Her contract with Japanese retailer Uniqlo is due to end after this season.

Sander left her eponymous label after Prada took control of the brand in 1999.

In 2006, Prada sold the brand to British private equity firm Change Capital Partners, which in turn sold it to Japanese fashion conglomerate Onward Holdings two years later.

Reporting by Antonella Ciancio, editing by Paul Casciato

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