Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons, considered one of the most talented of his generation, will leave Calvin Klein little more than two years after joining it, parent company PVH said Friday.
“Both parties have amicably decided to part ways after Calvin Klein, Inc decided on a new brand direction which differs from Simons´ creative vision,” the company said in a statement.
The arrival of the self-taught Simons in New York in August 2016 after four years at Dior caused a sensation. Dubbed “chief creative officer,” he had vast powers to revitalize the American brand, which relied on him to boost the profits of its high-end collection.
But there has been speculation since November about his potential departure, after an official from PVH apportioned him some of the blame for declining sales.
PVH did not specify when Simons would leave, but according to The New York Times, his departure is immediate even though his contract expires in less than six months.
No details have been given as to who will replace him or what he will do after his departure.
During his short stint at Calvin Klein, Simons garnered praise from the fashion world for his innovative collections, and he has received three awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Calvin Klein´s shows at New York Fashion Week were among the most popular but the fashion house will not organize any runway events at the next Fashion Week to take place in February, PVH said.
Simons´ last Fashion Week runway show in September was inspired by “Jaws,” the 1975 Steven Spielberg blockbuster film.
“The landscape of America — literal and psychological — inspires Calvin Klein. A journey through America leads, inevitably, to the edge of the landscape: the beach,” where there is “this incredible idea of beauty, but also a tension,” Simons wrote in notes for the show.
Simons, 50, has been credited with giving the iconic American label renewed relevancy, his collections diving deep into the good, the bad and the ugly of the United States.
But several industry news sites had speculated about the departure of Simons, after the PVH group head blamed him during a third-quarter earnings presentation for a lack of dynamism in sales.
PVH chairman and CEO Emanuel “Manny” Chirico announced a more commercialized marketing approach, signaling that the Simons creative era was ending.
Calvin Klein, the New Yorker who in 1968 founded the label bearing his name, sold it in 2003 to PVH which also has the Tommy Hilfiger brand.