It's news no-one saw coming. After just three and a half years at the helm of the Women's collections, Raf Simons is leaving "for personal reasons", with the S/S '16 collection he recently presented in Paris - set in that magical delphinium-covered mountain outside the Louvre - his last.

"It is after careful and long consideration that I have decided to leave my position as creative director of Christian Dior's women's collection," Simons says in the statement released by Dior. "It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside my work. Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book. I want to thank Mr. Bernard Arnault for the trust he has put in me, giving me the incredible opportunity to work at this beautiful house surrounded by the most amazing team one could ever dream of. I have also had the chance over the last few years to benefit from the leadership of Sidney Toledano. His thoughtful, heartfelt and inspired management will also remain as one of the most important experiences of my professional career."

Breaking: Raf Simons is leaving Dior

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Simons' stint at Dior was marked by increased sales and highly acclaimed collections, and his decision is thought to be purely down to personal reasons and a wish for more creative freedom than the major fashion house afforded. Simons is so far silent on his next move, although we assume he will continue his eponymous menswear brand.

As for Dior, a successor has not yet been announced - we hear rumours Riccardo Tisci could be a frontrunner, given his masterful eye and willingness to embrace the changing face of the fashion industry (not only did he live stream his last show, he invited 1000 members of the public). Either way, the news is likely to spark major changes across all the major houses: watch this space. 

Breaking: Raf Simons is leaving Dior

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