Iconic American Brand Calvin Klein Set to Hire a New Creative Lead Following Raf Simons Departure

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NEW YORK —¬†In August 2016,¬†DM Fashion Book¬†reported that¬†Belgian¬†designer¬†Raf Simons¬†was named the new¬†chief creative officer¬†of¬†Calvin Klein¬†(see it¬†here).

After less than two years, since he took the helm at the American fashion house, Calvin Klein Inc. and Raf Simons said Friday (December 21) that Simons is leaving his post as chief creative officer (see it here).

Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after Calvin Klein decided on a new brand direction.

Simons‚Äės departure is not shocking, I saw it coming: In a December earnings call,¬†PVH CEO¬†Emanuel Chirico¬†expressed dissatisfaction with¬†Simons‚Äės¬†performance, noting that a high-end overhaul of¬†Calvin Klein Jeans¬†had been unsuccessful and the¬†Calvin Klein 205W39NYC¬†line had not seen solid return on investments.

As a result of¬†Simons‚Äės departure,¬†Calvin Klein¬†will not be showing on the February 2019¬†New York Fashion Week¬†calendar.

In the latest Calvin Klein news, the brand is looking for a new creative lead, said a person with knowledge of the business.

Chief executive officer Steve Shiffman said in a separate statement on Thursday that the brand will close its 654 Madison Avenue flagship store, which Simons renovated in 2017, relaunch its ready-to-wear line and consolidate some teams in North America.

Shiffman said the brand will relaunch the 2015W39NYC ready-to-wear line under a different name and a new creative direction. He kept the details vague, stating that the business will be “designed to evolve the traditional luxury fashion model by connecting with a diverse range of communities, offering an unexpected mix of influences and moving at an accelerated pace.”

The source with knowledge of the business also said that several of Simons‘ longtime collaborators have exited the business, specifically¬†Pieter Mulier, creative director, and Matthieu Blazy, the design director of women‚Äôs ready-to-wear. Michelle Kessler-Sanders, president of the 2015W39NYC business, will stay on in an executive position.

Shiffman‘s statement also announced the formation of a new consumer marketing division focused on consumer engagement and shopper experience. According to the source, this department is led by chief marketing officer Marie Gulin-Merle.

Calvin Klein in North America will see further changes: Shiffman said the brand will consolidate the men’s sportswear and the Jeans businesses, and also integrate the retail and e-commerce teams.

Our industry is witnessing a historic transformation in consumer behavior which presents a significant growth opportunity as we look to grow the brand to $12 billion in global retail sales over the next few years,” said Shiffman.

Photos Credit: Marcus Tondo / Indigital.tv

Source: BoF

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.