After some recent speculation with in the fashion world, Calvin Klein announced Raf Simons was out as the brand’s first chief creative officer months before the end of his contract.
Less than two years after Simons debuted his first collection for Calvin Klein, PVH announced on Friday he was gone for good, more than eight months before the end of his contract, which expires in August 2019.
“Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after Calvin Klein Inc. decided on a new brand direction which differs from Simons’ creative vision,” the company said in a statement.
Simons revitalized Calvin Klein with his hip European sensibility after being appointed chief creative officer in 2016. His New York Fashion Week shows were the talk of the industry, beginning with his February 2017 debut, which had a clear political message, opening and closing with the David Bowie song This is Not America.
Celebrities flocked to his shows, critics raved, and the fashion establishment rewarded him with three top awards in two years. He won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award for womenswear in both 2017 and 2018, and also took the menswear award in 2017.
But critical acclaim didn’t translate to sales. The writing seemed on the wall when PVH chief executive Manny Chirico last month spoke about the failure of Simons’ 205W39NYC ready-to-wear collection and how Calvin Klein’s denim line was overpriced.
“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,” said Chirico in November’s third-quarter earnings conference call. “As we move into 2019, we believe the consumer will increasingly feel more connected to the brand as we offer a more commercial product and marketing experience to capture the long-term opportunity for our Calvin Klein business.”
No successor has been named as of yet, and the company announced that there will not be a collection shown at New York Fashion Week in February.