Raf Simons In at Calvin Klein

Announced today, Calvin Klein has appointed Raf Simons as its chief creative officer, rumors of which were first published here in October. His non-compete agreement with Dior is thought to have expired at the end of July, thus the lengthy delay in making the Calvin Klein news official.

Effective immediately, Simons will lead the totality of the brand’s global creative strategy, ranging from fashion design to marketing to all visual components. This includes not only the main Calvin Klein Collection, but also its five departments, from jeans to underwear. In other words, Simons will have full control, something he wasn’t granted at Dior, becoming a bone of contention with LVMH.

It’s expected Simons will inject his own brand of young, modern energy into the label, the kind he’s been mining at his own men’s label for 15-plus years. In this way, he’ll realign Calvin Klein with the suggestive, naive sexuality that made it so culturally relevant in the 90s, when several of its commercials were banned for being to racy. 

Not since Klein himself was at the company’s helm has it been led by one vision. During the intervening years since Klein’s departure in 2003, upon selling it to PVH, the label was designed by Francisco Costa (women’s) and Italo Zucchelli (men’s). However, in a surprise move, they simultaneously exited the company in April. It’s unknown how much of that was their own volition.

The hire, says a statement, is part of an evolution that began with the reacquisition of the Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein Underwear businesses in 2013, as Calvin Klein looks to grow the brand to $10 billion in global retail sales. Calvin Klein also announced the hire of SImons’ longtime associate Pieter Mulier as Creative Director, responsible for executing Simons’ vision, set to debut with the fall 2017 collection.

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