Breaking news last night: Raf Simons and Calvin Klein part ways after less than two years and eight months before the end of his contract. But the fashion world saw it coming after PVH (which also owns Tommy Hilfiger) chief Emanuel Chirico criticised last month the brand’s bumpy financial performance and high-fashion approach for which on the other side Simons won multiple awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America during his time at Calvin Klein.
With Raf Simons in 2014 when he was still at Dior.
Here lays exactly the problem. The Belgian designer, as well known for his cult menswear label as his well-regarded times at Jil Sander and Dior, was clearly committed to the cause of the iconic brand that consumers know for its denim, underwear and provocative marketing campaigns. He was given a multi-million-dollar salary and the title of chief creative officer. He oversaw all aspects of marketing and design for the American megabrand, a degree of control he did not have at Dior.
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W 2018 ad campaign shot by Willy Vanderperre
Unfortunately, the brand, that was renamed Calvin Klein 205W39NYC under Simons (sorry, but I have hated the name from the beginning), hoped to create a marketing effect through the high-end ready-to-wear collection for its lower-priced products. But this transformation didn’t take place. Personally speaking, I liked the looks Simons designed but I didn’t buy one single piece. Somehow I never felt the urge.
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W 2018 show in NYC
For the American fashion industry, it is a big loss to see Simons go. But on the other hand, it is the only way to go. The brand will NOT even stage a runway show in February which is truly sad as his show definitely got a lot of international attention.
#MyCalvins – bestselling items the brand will focus on even more.
What will happen now with Calvin Klein? Needless to say, probably not another big designer name. but a strategy that will shift the focus of its marketing campaigns from high-fashion to more affordable items. Cobbler, stick to your trade!
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W 2018 runway collection
Photos: Courtesy of Calvin Klein and © Sandra Bauknecht