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 ofAmericana 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.
The late iconic Artist & Activist Keith Haring will have his first major UK retrospective shown in June 2019 at Tate Liverpool. A legend of the New York art scene, the show will include 85 works by the artist including paintings, drawings, photographs and videos, all encapsulating the 1980’s underground that the artist embodied. Best known for his iconic motifs, such as barking dogs, crawling babies and flying saucers, Haring’s work was politically charged and motivated by activism, with Haring’s work as an AIDS activist and educator remaining his most essential legacy. Having evolved from the street scene and club culture of the early 80’s, with his graffiti style being seen at such legendary clubs as Paradise Garage, he later went on to work in the same circles as Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Vivienne Westwood & Grace Jones. He was also an active member of the legendary Club 57 in New York, where he gave performances and organised exhibitions.
Writing for ID magazine Ryan White declared “Though much has changed in the world since the 1908’s, and HIV/AIDS no longer as much of a threat in NYC, a lot of the themes Haring’s explored — opioid addiction, racism, police brutality, environmental damage, war — remain as present and urgent as ever. An expansive retrospective, then, couldn’t be more welcome”. In 1988 Haring was diagnosed with AIDS and set up the Keith Haring foundation to support children’s programs and organisations dedicated to raising AIDS awareness. He later died in 1990 aged 31.
The following is an excerpt from the Keith Haring foundation regarding his love of New York nightlife and Music, particularly the Paradise Garage –
“Wherever Keith Haring was working, either on the street or in his studio, music was always playing. Haring’s work embodies the sounds of the New York streets and of streetwise clubs like Paradise Garage. You can almost hear the music that infuses the visual rhythm of his work. Haring was one of the rare artists who was able to visualize sound.
Reminiscing about Keith Haring and the Paradise Garage, Ann Magnuson wrote that “dancing was our pagan rite and the Paradise Garage, the first multi-cultural gay dance club, became Keith’s Pantheon.” In his journals, Haring wrote, “I don’t know if you know how important the Paradise Garage is, at least for me and the tribe of people who have shared many a collective spiritual experience there. The Garage also changed or affected my life incredibly through various ‘re-imprinting’ experiences and transformations.” Haring would even schedule his trips around the Garage, “leaving on Sundays and returning before or on Saturdays.”
The exhibition ‘Keith Haring’ takes place 14th June – 10th November 2019 Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4BB
After performing during the pre-show to menswear designer Boris Bidjan Saberi’s at last years NYFW, Italian Techno duo Tale Of Us are back this year with their successful show ‘Afterlife’, debuting at New Yorks Avant Gardner. The event will be spread across 3 rooms – The Brooklyn Mirage, the Great Hall and the Kings Hall and will include a video installation by media artist Quayola called ‘Jardins d’Été’. Tale Of Us will accompany the video installation with their Endless album, creating a pice entitled ‘Endless- Jardins’.
Tale Of Us have a history with the fashion industry, launching ‘Afterlife x Bruno Bordese’ shoes in 2016 and worked alongside Boris Bidjan Saberi in 2017 to launch their own line ‘Afterlife x 11 by BBS’. The music producers say they originally created Afterlife, both the event and their record label, in order to have more freedom musically and aesthetically. “It is when you have your own label and event that you can develop your vision without any compromise,” they told Forbes. According to Tale Of Us, the Afterlife event is unique from other shows because of its “overall experience for the senses.” Afterlife has already held a successful residency in Ibiza this summer and also shown in London, Amsterdam, Miami & Mexico City amongst others.
The New York event will also feature other talent from the Afterlife label including Recondite, Patrice Bäumel, Hunter / Game & Roland Appel and will take place on Saturday September 8th.
To launch the new Pre-Fall 2018 line, Helmut Lang has gone to Instagram to unveil its 90’s aesthetic dating show campaign. New Editor-in-residence Alix Browne and Langs digital editor Ava Nirui have called on 12 single models living in New York to create a dating profile with details about themselves and what they are looking for in a relationship, whilst having there profile pictures of them wearing Helmut Lang. Each models profile has a caption urging people to email email@example.com if they would like to connect with them – with applicants actually being put in touch with the models if a suitable match is found. The images are rendered in a hazy, 90’s VHS quality and the models have been styled by Anna Santangelo. “I’ve always been super obsessed with the unique verbiage that goes with personal ads.” Ava Nirui told Vogue, “I recently had a realization that I’m constantly matchmaking friends and thought it would be fun to invite these friends (and friends of friends) to be a part of the Helmut Lang community, while potentially helping them find love in their lives.” The campaign gives many nods to early 90’s Helmut Lang, from its original on-line legacy to its successful print campaigns. Langs new Editor-inresidence Alix Browne took over in January and is the founding editor of V Magazine and former features editor of W Magazine.
Cult label Supreme has teamed up with iconic photographer Nan Goldin on a new collection for the brand. The cult streetwear brand, which has collaborated with Damien Hirst and David Lynch, is now working with the artist who chronicled 1980s New York, with her work exploring LGBT bodies, the HIV crisis and the opioid crisis. “I did this for the kids,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing teenagers skating on my images and wearing them. To my mind, people have become so conservative, especially the millennials – its like the 1960s never happened – so I like the idea of them being exposed to my real world.” The collection includes images from Goldin’s 1986 The Balled of Sexual Dependency and will be used on new T-shirts, hoodies and skateboards. “Nan Goldin’s work is real and raw – in the time, places and subject matter she shot,” says Supreme. “It comes from an era where the subjects she documented were taboo by society’s standards. To do this project with Nan Goldin is to celebrate the diversity her work represents and expose young people to it.”
Nan Goldin x Supreme is available now Supreme More Nan Goldin at ArtNet
Digital Artist Mike Lee is set to open his first solo exhibition today at the Arsham/Fieg gallery New York. After a successful international debut in a group show with the Amala Gallery in Tokyo last November, Mike Lee is set to bring his Digital Figures, which appear to levitate within a void, to the New York Gallery. An art series that revolves around an exploration of the female figure, Mike Lee’s “Besties” exhibit emphasises equality, social change and female empowerment. “In light of all women coming together to speak out, it’s about time their voices are being heard loud and clear,” reads a statement form Lee. “Besties” will be comprised of 5 new oil paintings that are continuing on the artist’s exploration of light and shadow through portrayal of his bubbly featureless characters, this time with accent on portraying female figures. These more complex works are an introduction of sorts to his newest body of work that he will be revealing later this month with Over The Influence gallery during Art Basel week in Hong Kong.
Mike Lee – “Besties” Arsham/Fieg Gallery, 337 Lafayette St, NY, 10012