Raf Simons is leaving Calvin Klein after two years as Calvin Klein’s first-ever chief creative officer.
He reportedly had eight months left in his contract but the decision is effective immediately. Simons declined to make a statement but Calvin Klein’s parent company PVH said: “Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after Calvin Klein Inc. decided on a new brand direction which differs from Simons’s creative vision.”
When the Belgian designer first joined the brand in 2016 after months of speculation, Calvin Klein’s CEO Steve Shiffman hailed Simons’ appointment as the beginning of a “momentous new chapter” for the brand. Simons previously worked at Dior and Jil Sander with great success. He brought a conceptual and European flavour to Calvin Klein’s understated minimalism. He debuted “Calvin Klein 205W39NYC” at New York Fashion Week in February 2017 to critical acclaim, capturing the imaginations of many industry veterans and fashion critics with its numerous pop culture references and skewed take on Americana.
His approach even gained him unprecedented use of Andy Warhol’s work for the SS18 collection. Simons’ work with Calvin Klein saw him pick up three CDFA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) awards, for both menswear and womenswear in 2017 and womenswear again this year.
Simons’ rebrand elevated Calvin Klein but that was apparently the problem. His high concept designs didn’t seem to be commercially appealing. In November 2018, PVH revealed that Calvin Klein was down a staggering $21 million. The chairman Emmanuel Chirico suggested Simons’ creative vision was responsible for the loss and even went so far as to call the designer’s recent work for Calvin Klein a “fashion miss”. For those who raised their eyebrows when Simons’ appointment was first announced in 2016, this parting might have looked inevitable. But for fans of the Simons-era, the absence of his Calvin Klein collection at Fashion Week in February will be a major blow.
Words: Aida Amoako
This article originally appeared on Grazia.