Raf Simons has been unveiled as Christina Dior's new artistic director.

The 44-year-old Belgian will fill the vacancy left by John Galliano - who was fired in March 2011 for making drunken anti-Semitic remarks - and present his first show at Paris Couture Week in July.

Having started his career as a furniture designer, Raf was the creative director at Jil Sander up until February, and will now be responsible for women's haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Dior, according to WWD.

A statement by The Fashion house hails Raf as, ''one of today's greatest talents'' who will ''propel [Dior's] iconic style into the 21st century.''

Raf - who originally trained himself to be a menswear designer - told the publication he considers the label's founder to be ''the most inspiring couturier''.

He said: ''Around the globe, the name Dior symbolizes the ultimate in elegance and refinement.

''It is with the utmost respect for its tremendous history, its unparalleled knowledge and craftsmanship that I am joining the magnificent house of Dior.''

Galliano's longtime assistant and Dior's former studio director Bill Gaytten had been holding the fort, while designers including Marc Jacobs, Alber Elbaz and Haider Ackermann were all rumoured to be in the running for the coveted position.