​What Raf Simons' Move To Calvin Klein Will Mean For Fashion

After changes at DKNY and Oscar de la Renta, finally some good news for New York

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After months of speculation and collective wishful thinking, Calvin Klein confirmed that it has appointed Raf Simons as its new Chief Creative Officer. The announcement comes nearly one year after he left his role as creative director of Christian Dior last October, and weeks after the Parisian house announced former Valentino co-creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri as his replacement.

In his new role, the Belgian designer will oversee the creative direction of all the men's, women's and home labels under the Calvin Klein umbrella. 'The arrival of Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer signifies a momentous new chapter for Calvin Klein,' Steve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein, said 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.'

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Raf Simons' Christian Dior couture debut

The announcement is not just a big deal for the brand, however. It's a coup for American fashion, adding another iconic name to the New York Fashion Week calendar (Raf will make his first collection for the autumn/winter 17 season) and giving a new sense of creative excitement and gravitas to the city's design community as a whole. 

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Raf, famous for his poetic take on minimalism, is inarguably one of the fashion world's most beloved and revered talents. This is a man, remember, whose final collection for Jil Sander reduced its audience to tears. In his statement, Shiffman described Simons as someone whose 'exceptional contributions have shaped and modernised fashion as we see it today...'  

To give Simons move to Calvin Klein a bit of context, let's consider the rocky year America's legendary brands have had. Last March, Marc Jacobs decided to close his LVMH-owned diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, in order to reportedly prepare his main line for an IPO. In June, Donna Karan stepped down from her eponymous LVMH-owned company. 

Raf Simons' final collection for Jil Sander, autumn/winter 12

And shortly after, its main line Donna Karan Collection was suspended. This past April, Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli stepped down from their positions as creative directors of Calvin Klein women's and men's respectively. And in July, the news that Oscar de la Renta's hand-picked successor Peter Copping would be stepping down after only two years with the brand. Then days later, the announcement that LVMH had sold DKNY to G-III Apparel Group.

In short, the American fashion industry is in flux (like everyone else, really). And Raf's big announcement comes as much-needed good news in a challenging time for the industry. 

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