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Raf Simons at Calvin Klein: Revisit the Designer’s Most Memorable Runway Moments

Raf Simons
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The news came on a Friday night before the holidays, but there was never any getting around the fact that Raf Simons‘s departure as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein would make waves. Less than two years ago, about a year after he left Dior, the excitement about the beloved designer’s move to the States couldn’t have been more palpable; the news of his appointment alone injected some much-needed life into New York Fashion Week practically as soon as it broke. Even Millie Bobby Brown turned up to witness Simons’s debut show at the house, which also turned out to be a milestone for one Kaia Gerber, now reigning queen of Fashion Week, who made her runway debut at the show just a few days after turning 16. From the start, Simons seemed to address the fact that his charm has alway been his lack of mass-market appeal by paying clear homage to the house’s past; he even so successfully referenced Americana that it wasn’t long before Melania Trump turned out to be a fan of the rebrand, known as CALVINKLEIN 205W39NYC—never mind that Simons also criticized America’s political climate throughout his tenure at the house. That began subtly enough, but definitely grew more explicit; he even cited “American horror and American beauty” as his inspiration for spring 2018, which included a pair of stilettos that paid homage to Jason Voorhees’s hockey mask in Friday the 13th. (The theme came to a head with what turned out to be Simons’s final runway collection, which saw him overlay the CK logo atop posters of Jaws.) That’s not to say that all of Simons’s pop culture references were dark; he also closely collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation, reproducing some of the artist’s most iconic prints, and got as mainstream as possible when he tapped the Kardashians—along with a few strategically placed, baby bump-obscuring blankets—to star in one of the house’s campaigns, on the heels of a similarly internet-breaking series of ads featuring the stars of Moonlight stripped down to their underwear. Whereas in the end, even all that couldn’t stop the brand’s sales from floundering, Simons himself has remained popular as ever among his devotees, including his longtime muses like Freja Beha Erichsen, Natalie Westling, Liya Kebede, and Julia Nobis—the latter of whom repeatedly came out of semi-retirement in the name of Raf. Take a look at their most memorable runway appearances during his tenure at Calvin Klein, here.

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Kaia Gerber in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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Detail of Liya Kebede in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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Julia Nobis in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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Detail of Hanne Gaby Odiele in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2017 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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Detail of Lexi Boling in Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2017.

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Detail of Lulu Tenney in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Fatoue Jobe in a look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail of a look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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A look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail of Liya Kebede in a look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail of Freja Beja Erichsen in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail of Natalie Westling in Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail of a look from Raf Simons’s fall/winter 2018 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, February 2018.

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Detail of Kaia Gerber in Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2019 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2018.

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A look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2019 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2018.

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Detail from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2019 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2018.

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Detail of Doutzen Kroes in Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2019 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2018.

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Detail of Juliane Gruner in Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2019 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2018.

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Fernando Albaladejo in a look from Raf Simons’s spring/summer 2019 collection for Calvin Klein, shown during New York Fashion Week, September 2018.