25 August 2016

Raf Simons To Rebrand Calvin Klein as Creative Director

Originally published on the 10th August 2016 here

Thought you were up to date with all the new names, positions and switches in the name of fashion? Well, you’re probably already a name or two behind with another major shuffle in the industry as of recent, following Dior’s new female head.

This time, the spotlight is on ex-Dior creative director Raf Simons. Following his departure at Dior in Paris and months of speculation as to where he’d go to next, Simons is now cemented as the new creative director of Calvin Klein.

As with all young and hip businesses in the industry nowadays, the brand announced the news via Instagram, stating that the Belgian fashion designer will be overseeing all of the creative processes from the Clavin Klevin Collection. CEO of Calvin Klein, Steve Shiffman, stated in early April, months before the official announcement amidst rumours that ‘the [potential] arrival of Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer signifies a momentous new chapter or Clavin Klevin.’

What makes Simons’ return into the industry as creative director once again so interesting for many in the industry is the hectic schedule that he’ll be running on once again after departing Dior due to personal reasons and conflicting schedules. Back in 2015 during an interview with Cathy Horyn in System magazine, Simons himself stated that he wasn’t fond of doing so many shows a year, so many things at once with no time ‘incubation time for ideas’.

However, considering that Simons himself has played a major role in transforming the menswear landscape since the early 90s with his eponymous menswear label and then moving into womenswear with Jil Sander, it’s no wonder that everyone is anticipating great changes in silhouette, atmosphere and branding. His modern minimalistic aesthetic that he created with his designs at Jil Sander and Dior will no doubt revolutionise Calvin Klein, which has become languish over the last few years.

With Simons’ non-compete agreement with LVMH Mo√ęt Hennessey Louis Vuitton now expired as July is over, Simons is now free of his official contract from Dior (meaning that Simons can now go design for any house he wishes too), it’s to be seen that a critically acclaimed European designer will have major impact on a classic American household name – and with so many sub-labels now under Simons’ control, from men’s, women’s and even homeware), the whole namesake and brand of Calvin Klein would undergo a complete makeover.

With Calvin Klein expected to pay Simons a salary of $18million a year, Shiffman hopes that Simons’ exceptional contributions to the industry will continue to phase into the brand of Calvin Klein to help modernise and shape the house as a leading global lifestyle brand.