Raf Simons has been urged to ''capitalise'' on his own philosophy at Dior.

Style commentator Colin McDowell - who in 2008 was appointed an MBE by the Queen for services to fashion - believes the new creative director at the legendary French label should make sure he ''breaks out'' of traditional couture dress making.

He said: ''He has his own philosophy. He understands modernity. He must capitalise on these things, and on the position of working for one of the greatest labels in the world, rich enough to indulge him in any way. He is in the unique position of being able to finally modernise couture and break out of the endlessly atavistic circles it has spun for so long.

''But he will not do so if he spends his time simply giving his own spin to the thinking of Christian Dior and John Galliano. He must look into his heart and mind, remember what makes him unique and forget all about the Dior archive. It has been endlessly examined and re-examined and generally done to death already. Raf Simons has a strongly individual aesthetic. He has no need to lean on the past.''

However, he did back him as the new chief of the French fashion house.

He wrote in Business of Fashion: ''Raf Simons is a very good designer and Dior should have the confidence to stand by him without cheerleaders or fancy frills.''