Yesterday was made a long awaited announcement: Raf Simons will be taking the lead at Calvin Klein (ready-to-wear, underwear and jeans). The Belgian designer who was conducting the renewal of Christian Dior until last October is one of the rare designer to move from couture to ready-to-wear. Here are five reasons why we should celebrate.
Simons is a fast learner, one of the most talented designer of our generation who proved the fashion industry that he can write many kind of stories, adapting to every sort of tone with his own sense of elegance and sobriety. Never austere, his style has become a true classic amongst the fans of ambiguous minimalism especially. Every of his collections (for his eponymous label, but also at Jil Sander then at Christian Dior) brought in new ideas that became not only seasonal but timeless rules for women – I think of the long pastel and belted coats spotted at Jil Sander FW13, the all-white silhouettes that had walked the catwalk for spring of the previous year, the black and white sweater created for Christian Dior FW15 that was on everyone’s back, or more recently, cute and dreamlike scallops. We can only see him innovate the casual image of Calvin Klein with a more subtle yet high sensual take on seduction.
The luxury and couture background of the Belgian genius is exactly what Calvin Klein needs for its ready-to-wear expansion. According to Business of Fashion, the sales of ready-to-wear at Calvin Klein play a minimal role in the profits of the brand. With such an icon leading now, a monetary increase is to be expected. It’s obvious that Raf Simons will bring his faithful clientele (composed of as many superstars as anonymous fashion lovers) to consider Calvin Klein as a new wardrobe eventuality. Foreigners (from outside of the US, I mean, CK being an American brand) will be especially sensitive to the restore of the brand’s high-end image, as it has often carried the prejudice of a brand that is not only too casual but also lacks creativity. Despite the recent rise and improvement in terms of popularity and acknowledgment, Calvin Klein has long been a brand that we mostly associate with men underwear here in France, sometimes with jeans when we’re a little fashion conscious. But it’s only relatively new that people actually realized it is also about ready-to-wear that can feel as stylish as other American labels (how ironic when you know how deeply rooted it is into modern American fashion history).
We know Simons for his graceful ready-to-wear moments at Jil Sander, for his original and unique vision of fashion and style when he creates for his eponymous label, or also for the ethereality of his touch at Christian Dior. Now, we will finally watch how Simons works menswear. And denim. The polyvalence of his upcoming activities at Calvin Klein will allow the designer to show, and us public to admire, his multiple skills. I think that versatility is key in today’s fashion industry, and by managing and leading so many different yet interconnected subjects, Raf Simons is simply going to claim, once and for all, that he’s the man of the situation. And we’re gonna believe him because I’m pretty sure he’s gonna do amazing things there. I wonder whether, with the same designer taking care of both genders, they will reunite the respective shows of women ready-to-wear and menswear into one, big, brilliant show. Balenciaga and Vêtements are slowly moving towards this direction and it just sounds like the future of fashion week to me.
We finally know where Simons is going. After he announced his departure from Christian Dior last October, the world started speculating about his next destination. Now we can finally start another book and discuss the future of Valentino’s creative duet.
Because yes, another reason why we’re happy Raf Simons will start at Calvin Klein is that he’s leaving Christian Dior at the hands of Maria Grazia Chiuri. Not that I didn’t like his work there, I liked it for what it’s worth: a modern and contemporary take on one of the most classic houses of French luxury, with class, nobility and simplicity. But by quitting, he’s opening the door for new opportunities. And boy, what an opportunity. I call it a miracle. Chiuri, a member of the now iconic duet that led Italian house Valentino throughout the past years (with Pierpaolo Piccioli) will bring a new kind of aesthetics to Christian Dior. Something more fairy-like, probably with a little more texture, a little more embellishments. I believe her fashion to be more ornamental than Simons’, which is more about the overall shape and aspect of the clothes. How amazing would have it been if they had exchanged houses!
Are you a fan of Raf Simons? Do you think Calvin Klein was smart to appoint him new creative director? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below. If you liked this post, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog (below, too) so you don’t miss any fashion update. We can also connect on Instagram.