Raf Simons is leaving Christian Dior.

Raf Simons

Raf Simons

The designer - who has been at the French fashion house for three and a half years - revealed he is stepping down from his role in order to focus on "other interests".

He said in a statement: "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. 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."

WWD reports the departure is "amicable" and chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior SA Arnault, and Toledano, CEO of Christian Dior Couture, said they "acknowledge Raf Simons' decision and very warmly thank him for his exceptional contribution to the house".

Simons, artistic director of women's haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections, was previously creative director at Jil Sander from 2005-2011.