"When you do six shows a year, there's not enough time for the whole process," he told Cathy Horyn in an interview for System magazine, excerpted today on the Business of Fashion. "Technically, yes - the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let's put it away for a week and think about it later. But that's never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections.
What are you going to do? Walk out of the office at 8 o'clock at night? No, of course not. So you stay there until midnight. That's the life. So we created two design teams. Each group has a person in charge, and these people are fantastic. If Team A is working on cruise, then Team B is working on July couture. Then Team A will start working on the Fall ready-to-wear show. So each group does one couture show and one ready-to-wear show."
"In this system, Pieter [Mulier, Simons' right hand] and I can't sit together and brainstorm - no time," he added. "I have a schedule every day that begins at 10 in the morning and runs through the day, and every, every minute is filled. From 10.10am to 10.30am, it's shoes, let's say. From 10.30 to 11.15, it's jewellery. Everything is timed - the whole week. If there's a delay in a meeting, the whole day is fucked up."
Noting that things have changed dramatically since he moved from Jil Sander (which didn't present resort or couture) to Dior, Simons lamented no longer having time to brainstorm ideas with his team.
"I did that very often," he said. "And when the shows were running, I would sit with the whole creative team at a big table and have a dialogue. 'What have you seen?' 'What do you find modern? Old?' At first everyone would sit there with their mouths full of teeth and a rat face, but after a while they loved it. It became a real dialogue. And I liked it very much. Sometimes I do it with Pieter and maybe the heads of the teams. But the groups are too big here. There is also something else. At Dior, the moment you say, 'This is an interesting thing to try,' things go very, very fast."
"Technically speaking, it works. Does it work for me emotionally? No, because I'm not the kind of person who likes to do things so fast. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in… There's never enough time. You get a tension. I know how to pull out from this in my personal life. We go and look at nature for three hours. It's heaven. We go to a bakery and buy a bag of stuff and lie in the grass. Sublime. But how to do that in the context of your professional life? You buy a house and you start doing pottery or something?"