Raf Simons, former creative director at Dior, has just been named chief creative officer of Calvin Klein, via the brand's social media, giving him a role with unprecedented creative power since Klein himself, and his partner Barry K. Schwartz, sold the company to Phillips-Van Heusen in 2002.
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As chief creative officer, Simons will have complete control over the design and ad campaigns for men's and women's runways, jeans, underwear, and home goods. He'll also have the final say on celebrity models and all aspects of marketing and advertising.
Previously, each department within the Calvin Klein brand operated virtually independently, women's being headed by Francisco Costa and men's by Italo Zucchelli, who left the company earlier this year.
In recent years, Calvin Klein has mostly been using runway shows to maintain a high-fashion image, experimenting less with innovative shape and design and more with exploiting social media and celebrity to propel revenue. Their most recent campaigns for Calvin Klein underwear have featured media titan Justin Bieber infamously stripped down, while their #mycalvins campaign has featured celebs like Frank Ocean, Bella Hadid, and perennial muse Kate Moss.
Simons now has an opportunity coveted by many and granted to few: the chance to mold one of the most iconic brands of all time into something fresh and unexpected. He's the perfect man for the job: his own label, Raf Simons, launched in 1995, and in addition to his time at Dior, he's served as creative director at Jil Sander and done collaborations with trendly labels like Adidas.
We'll see what Simons brings to Calvin Klein's future, but whatever it is, we know we're not ready for it.