When Raf Simons suddenly ended his two-year stint as Calvin Klein‘s chief creative officer last December, rumors circulated that it would not be long before his Calvin Klein 205W39NYC rebrand of the label might dissipate along with his departure.
PVH, Calvin Klein’s parent company, initially revealed via press release in January that the brand would just go through a relaunch with a “new name, design approach, and creative direction.” As of this month, according to reports from WWD, not only has Calvin Klein 205W39NYC shuttered its business, the brand has also revealed that it won’t be doing traditional “collections” at all anymore. The restructuring of the brand means that roughly 100 employees in both New York and Milan lose their jobs, and the complete shuttering of the Calvin Klein collection business will mark the end of an era for New York Fashion Week.
Simons premiered his final runway collection last September during New York Fashion Week, paying homage to American pop culture classics like Jaws and Friday the 13th. Celebrities like Sarah Paulson showed their love for the designer by wearing pieces from his final Calvin Klein collection in early 2019, and the Kardashians notably leaned into the Belgian designer’s Americana-heavy creative direction when they utilized his red-and-white patchwork quilt to hide Kyle Jenner’s pregnancy in January 2018. (The women of the Calabasas dynasty resurrected the blanket once more for a fall 2018 Calvin Klein campaign). But the brand’s sales have still reportedly dipped enough that they have officially decided to part ways with the runway, at least for now.
Gone are the halcyon days of high-end runway Calvin Klein, whose heyday was in the 1990s, when top models like Linda Evangelista and Kate Moss walked in some of the most memorable fashion shows of the decade. Sure, Calvin Klein could one day make a big runway return, but maybe sticking to mainstream department store underwear territory isn’t such a bad idea—the label already snatched up Kendall Jenner, Shawn Mendes, and Noah Centineo to promote their undergarments last month, and the Internet couldn’t get enough of it. Just because Calvin Klein has decided to lean away from luxury doesn’t mean it doesn’t know its own brand.