Raf Simons Leaves Calvin Klein
Raf Simons, the first-ever chief creative officer for Calvin Klein, is leaving his post. Business of Fashion reports that the designer still had eight months left in his contract with the brand, which is owned by the conglomerate PVH Corp. Because of Simons's departure, Calvin Klein won't be holding a fashion show at the upcoming New York Fashion Week.
"Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after decided on a new brand direction which differs from Simons’s creative vision," a release from PVH Corp. reads. Simons has not commented.
BoF adds that many saw the move coming. Just last month, Emanuel Chirico, the chief executive at PVH, noted that he saw the brand moving in a high-fashion direction and that it was reporting an "uneven financial performance."
Simons came to Calvin Klein after his tenure at Christian Dior. He injected a mix of Americana and contemporary art to the label, a big move from the underwear and jeans that Calvin Klein had been known for. Simons renamed the brand's high-end label 205W39NYC and enlisted a roster of celebs like Millie Bobby Brown and Paris Jackson to front the line. Simons also had complete control over Calvin Klein's diffusion lines, which were also influenced by '90s nostalgia and featured Brooke Sheilds and Andy Warhol motifs in a Sterling Ruby-approved palette of bold primary colors. Giving Simons complete control over the brand was unprecedented and it was seen as a way to woo him from his post at Dior.
Even though Simons had little experience marketing to a more mass audience — he enlisted the Kardashians to promote underwear — BoF notes that he did his best by meeting with execs at Macy's. It seems like his efforts weren't enough, however, because PVH saw Simons's denim collection as a "fashion miss." Chirico mentioned that moving forward, the focus would be less on the 205W39NYC line and more on affordable items that appeal to more shoppers.
Simons did earn critical acclaim during his time at Calvin Klein. He earned multiple awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Steven Kolb noted that his presence at Fashion Week will be missed.
"Raf brought a unique point of view to American fashion and the CFDA wishes him future success," Kolb said. "Calvin Klein is an iconic American brand that will continue to flourish under new creative direction."