10/22/2015 15:13 EDT | Updated 10/22/2016 01:12 EDT

Dior says creative director Raf Simons leaving French fashion house for personal reasons

PARIS — Christian Dior says creative director Raf Simons will leave the storied French fashion house after deciding to leave for what it called personal reasons.

Simons, known for minimalist designs, has been creative director of Dior's women's collection for three-and-a-half years.

In a statement Thursday, Simons said his decision to leave Dior was "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 of my work."

Dior's statement made no mention of Simons' replacement.

When the normally exuberant house first hired the Belgian designer, known for his minimalist and linear style, it raised eyebrows.

The Associated Press