Both WWD and Business of Fashion are reporting that the beloved designer will be stepping down from his role as chief creative officer, which he first took in August 2016. The news broke on Friday afternoon, just as the world had begun to depart for their holiday travels, a time typically preserved for major bombshells like a giant Hollywood divorce—but if you think about it, this just may be the fashion equivalent.
The Belgian designer joined the American brand after finding much success at the helm of major European houses, in addition to his very popular own menswear collection; he designed for Jil Sander from 2005-2012, and later Christian Dior, from 2012-2015, during which he was the subject of the documentary, Dior and I. The fashion community was largely thrilled when he was appointed head of Calvin Klein, hoping the designer would bring a jolt of energy to the New York scene.
And that he did. Calvin Klein became a must-attend show of New York Fashion Week, under the new name CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC. Over the past two years, the show brought out major celebrities—who had recently eschewed New York in favor of Paris Fashion Week—including Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Millie Bobby Brown, Margot Robbie, and many more. He also secured Calvin Klein as a red carpet staple, perhaps most prominently dressing Saorsie Ronan at this year's Academy Awards, where she was nominated for Best Actress. During his now brief tenure at the brand, he also won three CFDA Awards for his work.
Raf Simons at Calvin Klein: Revisit the Designer's Most Memorable Runway Moments
However, perhaps the writing was on the wall for this era to come to an end. As WWD reported, during an earnings call earlier this month, Emanuel Chirico, chief executive officer of PVH, the company that owns Calvin Klein, expressed disappointment in the brand's sales. While Simons has yet to issue a statement, one thing remains clear: February's New York Fashion Week calendar is looking barer and barer.