UPDATE IV: Jil Sander confirms her return to the Jil Sander brand. "I am very happy and excited to be back. It feels like coming home after a brief journey,” Sander tells Women's Wear Daily.
UPDATE III: Suzy Menkes writes in the Times that Jil Sander is returning to her eponymous brand as creative director, replacing Simons. If Suzy says it, we believe it.
UPDATE II: Women's Wear Daily reports that Jil Sander will appoint a new creative director "in the next few days." If Gala magazine is correct, that new creative director will be Sander herself.
UPDATE: Raf Simons is indeed leaving Jil Sander! Cathy Horyn of the New York Times tweeted this morning, "Raf Simons to leave Jil Sander. Show on Saturday to be his last" followed by this tweet: "Jil Sander company has just confirmed that Raf Simons is leaving." All signs are pointing to Simons at Dior.... stay tuned.
PREVIOUSLY: After months of quiet on the Christian Dior creative director front, it seems a new designer might finally be at hand.
In a new development, German magazine Gala reports that German designer Jil Sander will be returning to her eponymous label, which she abandoned as head designer in 2000 and again in 2004.
The Telegraph noticed the report in Thursday's Gala, in which the magazine has "exclusively learned that [a Jil Sander] comeback will take place in a few weeks."
Gala only published a portion of the story online and a spokesperson for the Jil Sander brand declined to comment to the Telegraph. But the report does fit nicely into one of fashion's most important news stories of the past year. John Galliano's dismissal as creative director of Christian Dior (over an anti-Semitism scandal) last March opened up the conversation on his replacement, as names such as Marc Jacobs and Raf Simons were bandied about.
Jacobs has since declined the opportunity to take over at Dior, calling the decision "probably best for everyone." But Simons, currently the much-lauded creative director of Jil Sander, is still in the running for the head design job.
In December, Women's Wear Daily reported that Simons and LVMH, Dior's parent company, were nearing an agreement. One potential problem standing in the way was Simons' current contract at Jil Sander, which is not set to expire anytime soon.
A return by Sander's original designer, Jil Sander herself, could eliminate that barrier. In Sander's absence, Simons has turned the Jil Sander brand around; in 2011, the brand posted profit for the first time since 2001, even after enduring losses of about $7 million in 2010.
The positive position of the company is incentive for Sander to make her comeback... and incentive for Dior to lure Simons away with a more high-profile gig.
No confirmation of either Sander's return to Jil Sander nor Raf Simons' move to Dior. But keep your eyes and ears open -- we have a feeling something's brewing behind fashion's closed doors. Read more from Gala (if your German skills are up to snuff) or click over to Telegraph.co.uk.