French fashion powerhouse Dior has named Raf Simons as chief designer to succeed disgraced John Galliano who was fired more than a year ago for racist outbursts.
The 44-year-old Belgian will be responsible for “Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear and Women’s Accessories,” the Paris-based fashion house said in a statement.
He will premier his first Christian Dior Haute Couture collection in Paris in July, said Dior, one of the crown jewels in Bernard Arnault’s LVMH luxury empire.
Dior hailed the Belgian as “one of the biggest contemporary talents”, saying that “he will inspire and push into the 21st century the style that Mr Dior launched with the opening of his house and that has changed, since its first collection, the codes of world elegance.”
Flamboyant British designer Galliano was sacked last year after a video emerged of him hurling anti-Semitic slurs at patrons in a Paris bar.
Since then, his former right-hand man Bill Gaytten has overseen Dior collections.
Galliano was convicted of anti-Semitism by a French court in September, receiving suspended fines totalling 6000 euros (NZ$9587) after the court accepted his argument that he was sorry for his actions.
The Paris criminal court found him guilty of making anti-Semitic insults in public – an offence under French law – when he clashed with bar patrons in the capital’s Marais district on two occasions, in February this year and October 2010.
The court ordered Galliano to pay a symbolic euro in damages to each of the victims and to five anti-racism groups that were plaintiffs in the case. He was also told to pay the bodies 16,500 euros in legal costs.
The 50-year-old designer later checked into rehab for two months in Arizona and Switzerland.