Perhaps the industry's worst-kept secret over the past several months concerned the vacancy left at American fashion house Calvin Klein when its women's and men's creative directors, Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli respectively, both suddenly departed from their roles in April.
The plan was to unify the Calvin Klein brand under "one creative vision," in order to help it fulfill its long-term goal of becoming a $10-billion global business. In addition, the label consolidated all of its lines — including underwear and jeans — and revamped its advertising strategy immensely, with its recent campaigns featuring both cool up-and-comers and social media-savvy celebrities, like Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Frank Ocean and OG CK face, Kate Moss.
Rumors have swirled about who would take over the house, overseeing all of the brand's product categories as well as its marketing and advertising strategy, and though many names came up in the discussions, one stood as a clear frontrunner: Raf Simons. In fact, Calvin Klein, the person, even hinted at the Belgian designer himself. And on Tuesday, in an announcement that surprised very few, Simons was officially named the chief creative officer at the house, and will make his runway debut for Calvin Klein during the fall 2017 season of New York Fashion Week.
Most recently, Simons served as the women's creative director at the LVMH-owned house of Dior, a role he held for three years. Before that, he was creative director at Jil Sander for seven years, where he was lauded for his minimalist, feminine designs. Plus, he designs his eponymous Raf Simons label — a line that has garnered an almost cult-like following among menswear enthusiasts —which is heavily steeped in youth culture and was founded in 1995.
"The arrival of Raf Simons as chief creative officer signifies a momentous new chapter for Calvin Klein," said CEO Steve Shiffman in a statement. "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."
Calvin Klein also announced the appointment of Pieter Mulier, who was Simons's studio director at Dior, to the role of creative director. Mulier will report to Simons and help execute his vision across all Calvin Klein lines, managing all men's and women's design teams.