On Friday evening, just when you thought you could shut your laptop and put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode, a fashion bombshell dropped: Raf Simons is out at Calvin Klein, effective immediately.
“Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after Klein decided on a new brand direction which differs from Simons’ creative vision,” reports Women’s Wear Daily. During an earnings call in late November, it was reportedly expressed that the new brand direction was “not working,” and that Calvin Klein’s parent company was “disappointed by the lack of return on [its] investments.”
The news of Simons’s departure comes just two years after the Belgian designer was appointed chief creative officer at the brand, and more than eight months before the end of his contract. (It has also been almost exactly one year since the news of Phoebe Philo’s departure from Celine was announced, down to the hour.)
Simons’s hire at Calvin was an exciting injection of creativity for American fashion, and his presence at New York Fashion Week has elevated a sometimes-lackluster spectacle. “The Most Anticipated Fashion Show in Decades Turned Out to Be Brilliant,” wrote Cathy Horyn of his debut in February of last year.
Despite his relatively short amount of time in America, Simons has had a major impact here. He diversified Calvin Klein’s advertisements. He became the first designer since 1993 to win a CFDA award for both menswear and womenswear in the same year. And he got the next generation of consumers excited about a storied American brand. Even the Trump family bought into the overtly-political designer, who was both celebratory and questioning of American culture.
According to WWD, Calvin Klein will not show during New York Fashion Week in February. Simons’s Spring 2019 show in September was his last for the brand.
The Cut has reached out to Calvin Klein for comment, and we will update this post as we learn more details.