Raf Simons Takes Over Calvin Klein
Raf Simons has just been confirmed as the new chief creative officer at Calvin Klein. This is the Belgian designer’s first move after three years as women’s creative director of Christian Dior Couture.
Calvin Klein, Inc. today announced the appointment of Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer of the brand, effective immediately. ⠀ Mr. Simons will lead the creative strategy of the Calvin Klein brand globally across the Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein Platinum, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear and Calvin Klein Home brands. As part of his role as Chief Creative Officer, Mr. Simons will oversee all aspects of Design, Global Marketing and Communications, and Visual Creative Services. Mr. Simons’ first collections will debut for the Fall 2017 season. ⠀ The appointment of Mr. Simons as Chief Creative Officer marks the implementation of Calvin Klein’s new global creative strategy, announced in April 2016, to unify all Calvin Klein brands under one creative vision. The strategy comes as part of a global evolution of the Calvin Klein brand, which 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, this new leadership is intended to further strengthen the brand’s premium positioning worldwide and pave the way for future long-term global growth. ⠀ The arrival of Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer signifies a momentous new chapter for Calvin Klein,” said Steve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein, Inc. “Not since Mr. Klein himself was at the company has it been led by one creative visionary, and I am confident that this decision will drive the Calvin Klein brand and have a significant impact on its future. Raf’s exceptional contributions have shaped and modernized fashion as we see it today and, under his direction, Calvin Klein will further solidify its position as a leading global lifestyle brand.” ⠀ As part of the creative strategy for the apparel and accessories business, Calvin Klein also announced the hire of Pieter Mulier as Creative Director, reporting directly to Mr. Simons. Mr. Mulier will be responsible for executing Mr. Simons’ creative and design vision for all men’s and women’s apparel and accessories lines within the Calvin Klein brand.
“The arrival of Raf Simons as chief creative officer signifies a momentous new chapter for Calvin Klein,” Steve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein Inc. told Business of Fashion. “Not since Mr. Klein himself was at the company has it been led by one creative visionary, and I am confident that this decision will drive the Calvin Klein brand and have a significant impact on its future. Raf’s exceptional contributions have shaped and modernized fashion as we see it today and, under his direction, Calvin Klein will further solidify its position as a leading global lifestyle brand.”
And Calvin Klein is definitely one of the leading brands in modern fashion, continuing to churn out campaigns starring today’s hottest celebrities, like Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, FKA Twigs, Zoë Kravitz, Bella Hadid, and Kendrick Lamar. The brand’s decision to choose somebody as innovative as Simons makes sense.
Simons is set to lead the creative direction for all of the company’s brands, including ck Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein, as well as the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections. “Under this new arrangement, the designer will have complete creative control over everything from brand imagery — including underwear and fragrance campaigns — to diffusion lines and home goods,” reported Business of Fashion. Marketing and advertising will also report to him.
Simons left Dior due to a yearning for a better work-life balance. In a statement, he said his decision was “based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside my work.” He is expected to continue his own line, however, those passions may take a hit with this new, increased workload. But alas, leading a global brand is a tough opportunity to pass up.
Calvin Klein outperformed revenue expectations for the first quarter with a 13 percent rise in sales this year, according to an announcement from the brand’s parent company PVH Corp. That’s just about $723 million compared to the $654 million the brand made in the first quarter of last year — that’s a $69 million difference. One that is expected to keep on growing.
Simons was born in Belgium, and originally sought out to be a furniture designer. He launched his own label in 1995, with a concentration on menswear full of youth culture references and abstract shapes influenced by industrial design. Before signing on to Dior, he was creative director of Jil Sander for seven years.