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Raff Simons leaves Calvin Klein as Chief Creative Officer

Raff Simons leaves Calvin Klein as Chief Creative Officer

The designer Raf Simons is parting ways with Calvin Klein after two years with the fashion company.

The company and the Belgian designer announced they were “amicably parting ways” after Calvin Klein “decided on a new brand direction different from Simons’ creative vision”.

A representative for Simons said in an email on Friday night that the designer would have no further comment.

Simons revitalised Calvin Klein after being appointed chief creative officer in 2016. His New York fashion week shows were the talk of the industry, beginning with his February 2017 debut, which had a clear political message, opening and closing with the David Bowie song This is Not America.

Celebrities flocked to his shows, critics raved and the fashion establishment rewarded him with three top awards in two years. He won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for womenswear in both 2017 and 2018, and in a rare feat also took the menswear award in 2017.

Simons, 50, who previously worked at Dior and Jil Sander, brought an artsy European approach to the American brand, often citing numerous cultural references but especially Hollywood as inspiration. In September, his runway show riffed on the movie Jaws, with models in various types of wetsuits strolling in front of enormous screens depicting a glistening ocean.

Many of the garments had big bites taken out of them as in shark bites. Simons said the shark represented danger.

“Very often we are attracted to things that we actually know are dangerous,” he said in an interview. “But we can’t stay away from it.”

Calvin Klein will not show during New York fashion week in February 2019. No word was given about a successor. Simons also has his own, eponymous menswear label.

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