Raf Simons to fill the vacant post of Creative Director at Dior

Happy Birthday Marc Jacobs! After thirteen months of deliberation, speculation and courtship, the designer is officially off-the-hook and can proceed with his duties at Louis Vuitton and his beloved eponymous label. And luckily for us, the pieces of this particular puzzle have finally come together.

On Monday, it was confirmed that 44-year-old Belgian designer Raf Simons will fill the position of creative director at Christian Dior, left vacant since John Galliano's shameful departure in March 2011. 

Thumbs up for Raf Simons, pictured on the catwalk at the end of the Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2009/2010 fashion collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)

Given the circumstances, it was a position that not-too-many designers were eager to fill. In the interim, Dior studio director Bill Gaytten quietly held the position while LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault and Dior CEO Sidney Toledano met with prospective designers. Reports state that Simons was not even approached for the job until late 2011.

After having his name thrusted in to the mix of designer musical chairs, Simons was reportedly courted and hand-selected by Arnault. Simons, who was previously the creative director of Jil Sander, announced his departure abruptly during Paris Fashion Week. The bleary-eyed designer presented his final show for the label in February, gracefully bowing out to none other than Jil Sander herself.

As for his new gig, Simons will be responsible for revitalizing a brand that by association, has been cursed after Galliano's anti-Semitic and racist outburst at a Parisian bar last year. The incident led to the suspension, eventual removal and demise of one of fashion's most-promising stars.

In a statement released by Dior on Monday afternoon, Raf Simons' appointment as creative director will "inspire and propel into the 21st century." This is the 66-year-old famed fashion house's way of saying- out with Galliano's retro-rock direction; in with Simons' sleek and modern vision.

"It is one of the ultimate challenges, and a dream to go to a place like Dior, which stands for absolute elegance, incredible femininity and utter luxury," Simons told the NYT's Suzy Menkes. Meanwhile, we're sure the folks over at YSL including Hedi Slimane will be ready to re-vamp a tradition of fierce rivalry between the two fashion houses.

He will begin Wednesday, and his first collection for the French fashion house will debut in July.