Dior president Sidney Toledano tells the Financial Times that he was surprised about how well the label’s sales did without a high-profile creative director. “I never considered that,” he said. “I always thought we absolutely needed an artistic director. They, and their charisma, are what creates breakthroughs.” But as they’ve learned the hard way, “charisma” must be wielded carefully. For example, designers can provide “a shorthand to help consumers understand the brand, and to embody it,” but it’s a matter of how comfortable they feel in the public eye. “If it works for the designer, then fine,” he says, “and if it feels natural … But if not, it can be counterproductive, and it is better to avoid it. In the end, luxury is judged not by whether a designer’s face is on X number of posters, but by their work.” In other words, Raf Simons will do just fine.
Sidney Toledano. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images