Raf Simons’ tenure at Calvin Klein has ended less than 2 years after making his debut in New York. In a joint announcement, the company and the Belgian designer said they were parting ways amicably after Calvin Klein “decided on a new brand direction different from Simons’ creative vision.” Simons’ vision of the brand had won many plaudits from the fashion industry but commercially, as far as PVH, the corporation behind Klein, were concerned, had failed to resonate.
Raf’s role as Chief Creative Officer will end 8 months before his contract is up. The departure is no big surprise after PVH CEO Emanuel Chirico expressed dissatisfaction with Simons’ performance, showing concern at the unsuccessful overhaul of Calvin Klein Jeans, with the overall revenue of the brand increasing by just 2%.
After successful tenures at Jill Sander & Dior, Simons was given full creative control at Calvin Klein and was given the task of realigning the companies ready-to-wear collection, which for any years had been overshadowed with its sales of underwear and jeans. But he hasn’t managed to make his high brow art installation version of Americana a revenue success. “While many of the product categories performed well, we are disappointed by the lack of return on our investments in our Calvin Klein 205W39NYC halo business and believe that some of the Calvin Klein Jeans relaunched product was too elevated and did not sell through as well as we planned,” the company announced in an earnings statement on 29 November.
Simons’s spring/summer 2019 205W39NYC collection, which heavily referenced films such as The Graduate and Jaws, was presented at New York Fashion Week in September. Back in February 2017, British Vogue deputy editor Sarah Harris described Simons’s debut for the brand as “a celebration of America seen through an exacting eye and his precision cut.”
Calvin Klein have now cancelled the final Raf Simons show which was due to take place in February 2019 in New York.