Did Calvin Klein Just Drop Two Designers to Make Way for Raf?
If some sort of Project Runway–Bad Girls Club mashup has always been on your bucket list, then you’ve probably been getting a kick out of the fashion industry lately. Designers are dropping their roles as creative directors faster than we shed our clothes after last weekend’s surprisingly decent Tinder date. And those who aren’t are most likely going geriatric on us and saying that the industry is moving too fast. But amidst these announcements and declarations, few are as earth-shaking as the most recent news reports regarding Calvin Klein. The design house that’s become synonymous with the Bieber bulge and the underwear drawer of every gay man in New York City just announced some major changes for the brand.
Following months of speculation and a few side-eyes, Calvin Klein Collection creative directors Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli are officially leaving the label. Costa and Zucchelli joined the CK fam back in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and have spent over a decade shaping the brand’s menswear and womenswear collections to middling financial success. As Tom Murry, former president and chief executive of Calvin Klein, told BoF in 2011, “It’s usually not a money maker, and if it is a money maker it’s fairly minimal in terms of the return.”
The shakeup is all part of a new creative strategy to streamline the brand into one unified creative vision. Both creative directors’ decision to step down was enough to get the rumor mill spinning full force, but, like any good fashion soap opera playing out before our designer-shaded eyes, this one has a big twist. According to the statement given by the brand today, “There will be no runway show for Calvin Klein Collection in June (for men’s) or September (for women’s), although presentations will be held for press and sales.”
This news comes at an interesting time too, as so many top designers are on the hunt for new jobs. In just the past year, Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane, and former Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz have all left their positions at their respective design houses. But CK appears to only have eyes for one of these designers. Fashion insiders with a weakness for whispers have been linking Simons with Calvin Klein for months. Back in December, WWD reported that “Simons has a stringent, non-compete with Dior, and if Calvin Klein were interested in him, it would be a long time before the company could hire him, barring an early release from his Dior agreement.”
Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli out at Calvin Klein…you know what that means…. pic.twitter.com/PSq7RNeLOv
— Jake Woolf (@jakewoolf) April 19, 2016
What better way to pave the way for Simons to take over the Calvin Klein brand than with a fashionably late entrance after his contract ends. The minimalist label may have to take a few breaks from the runway, but in an industry as rapid-paced as fashion, sometimes the risk is worth the reward.
Stay tuned to Milk for the next designer brand shakeup.
Images via Surface Magazine and Hypebeast.