Dior Hires First Female Head Designer

Breaking up one of fashion’s most celebrated partnerships


One of fashion’s biggest questions has finally been answered.

After months of speculation about whom Raf Simons’ replacement would be following his departure from Christian Dior, sources have revealed that the house has finalised a contract to make Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri its artistic director.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

This is big news, because not only will Chiuri be Dior’s first female head designer, the appointment breaks up her much-lauded partnership with Valentino co-designer Pierpaolo Piccioli. It also raises the question of who will take over at the Roman house, one of the fastest-growing brands in Europe and a Dior competitor.

The word came just after Chiuri and Piccioli presented Valentino’s Spring 2017 men’s collection in Paris to lukewarm reviews. The pair have driven the brand’s artistic direction for eight years, prior to which they served as its accessory designers.

Dior declined to comment, while Valentino posted a message on Instagram: “In regards to the current articles being circulated about the exit of Maria Grazia Chiuri from Valentino and in the respect of the upcoming July 6th haute couture show on which both Chiuri and Piccioli and their teams are currently working, the house of Valentino has no comment.”

That couture show will be Chiuri’s last with Piccioli for Valentino; the Italian designer will show her first Dior collection this Fall for the Spring 2017 ready-to-wear season. Her appointment is expected to be officially announced in August.

For more on fashion, head here. Or check out Fendi’s Karlito Travels The World With ELLE Editors and Is Raf Simons About To Join Calvin Klein?

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