Last week, news broke out that the PVH-owned fashion label Calvin Klein is closing down its ready-to-wear business, with layoffs happening in its New York office and its Milan office closing. On top of that, Michelle Kessler-Sanders, who is the president of Calvin Klein’s 205W39NYC RTW business, will be leaving the company in June. These changes come in the aftermath of former Calvin Klein chief creative officer Raf Simons leaving the label at the end of last year.
Upon joining Calvin Klein in 2016, Simons was given full creative control by PVH in the hopes that he would execute a successful turnaround for the label in the same vein that Alessandro Michele had revived Gucci, both culturally and financially. On top of overseeing the fragrance and underwear lines as well as the label’s marketing, Simons also created the 205W39NYC line, which was intended to be a moneymaking venture for the brand.
The risk didn’t pay off, however, and in December, PVH CEO Emanuel Chirico has expressed disappointment over “the lack of return on our investments in our Calvin Klein 205W39NYC halo business.”
Initial plans for the company’s new approach to the luxury market in its post-Simons era involved replacing the RTW business with another collection, as part of a strategy to “[offer] an unexpected mix of influences and moving at an accelerated pace.” However, that particular move seems to be put on hold at the moment. Instead, in January, the brand revealed its intent to form a new consumer marketing division that will be focused on consumer engagement and shopper experience. It also announced the decision to close down Calvin Klein’s flagship store on 654 Madison Avenue; the closure was finalized just last week.
With the future of Calvin Klein still unclear and PVH yet to release any formal statement, rumors are circulating that previous global creative director Kevin Carrigan, who had preceded Simons, might be returning to the brand. There are also speculations that Calvin Klein might follow its fellow PVH-owned brand Tommy Hilfiger in releasing influencer-driven design collaborations, which have proven to be lucrative so far; Tommy Hilfiger’s sales were reported to have increased by 11 percent to $1.1 billion in the third quarter of 2018.
Majority of Calvin Klein’s sales come from its underwear and denim limes, though the label’s CEO Steve Shiffman is said to be planning the development of an “aspirational” product, probably with a new designer on board.
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