Raf Simons' new role as Calvin Klein's chief creative officer became official yesterday, after nearly a year of rumors and speculation. But, what will it mean for the label now that it's actually happening? A critically acclaimed European designer could have a major impact on the brand's place in the luxury space, or even elevate New York's standing in the world of fashion. And with so many sub-labels under Simons' control (we're talking men's, women's, home, et al), the company could undergo a complete makeover. Here are a few of our predictions for what CK might look like after a year under his creative control.
The house will have its first It handbag, finally.
Quick: Can you think of any specific bag style from Calvin Klein Collection, the brand's highest-end, ready-to-wear label? Probably not. Accessories weren't ever a particularly strong or memorable point for former womenswear creative director Francisco Costa. The brand's cheaper, department-store staple, Calvin Klein Jeans, makes plenty of work-friendly leather totes in the $200 to $300 range, but that's not exactly the price point of an It bag. Simons may not have been responsible for the Lady Dior style, though he did introduce the Diorama bag and Diorever style in 2015; odds are, he's going to be the guy who brings some accessories magic to this mainstay brand. If nothing else, it'd be a savvy marketing move, since a buzzy bag continues to be the ultimate aspirational luxury item.
Calvin Klein Collection menswear is about to get really good.
Simons has some serious menswear chops: He launched his eponymous menswear line in 1995 and didn't even start designing womenswear until a decade later. While Calvin Klein's menswear runway shows have historically been very prestigious bookings for male models, the actual clothes haven't been all that solid. If Simons' touch will truly be felt in all of the company's many diffusion lines (as his job description entails), maybe the more accessible mens' offerings from the Platinum Label (formerly known as CK Calvin Klein), White Label, or Calvin Klein Jeans will get made over, too.
People will buy Costco memberships just to snag Calvin Klein Underwear in bulk.
The house is about to gain some serious design clout with Simons' arrival, and what's the ultimate accessibly priced way for fashion fangirls and -boys to get a piece of the label's cool cache at under-$20 price points? Underwear. Stockpiling CK skivvies could very well become a thing (again). The logo-bedecked bras and undies have never not been cool, thanks, in part, to those always-provocative ads, and there's been a serious resurgence of late. (Chalk that up to '90s nostalgia, and campaign stars like Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner.)
Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and/or A$AP Rocky will join the Calvin Klein campaign posse, eventually.
Lawrence has been a Dior loyalist for ages, while Rihanna became the brand's first Black spokesperson in March 2015, and A$AP Rocky started fronting ads for the brand this year. But as soon as those contracts are done, we could see any (or all, really) of those celebrities killing it in some #MyCalvin ads.
Another Dior and I-style documentary will totally happen.
Filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng followed Simons (and his right-hand man and breakout star Pieter Mulier) around during the making of his first-ever collection for Dior. The result was the now-classic, fashion-feels inducing documentary Dior and I. What could be better than getting an inside look at a notoriously press-shy creator at work, leading up to his highly anticipated debut at a historic fashion house? In a way, we already see history repeating itself with the industry's worst-kept secret, a.k.a Simons sinking his teeth into another (albeit, comparatively newer) legacy brand. We can feel the drama building. If that's not compelling enough, though, can we please get Mulier his own spinoff?
Worst-case scenario, Raf's gone after a year.
Not to be all doom-and-gloom or anything, but it's a considerable jump for the designer brand-wise, and a big, ambitious, unprecedented role for the company. Anything could happen. We don't know the details of the Simons contract, though his rumored $18 million-a-year probably locks him in for far longer than 12 months. But hey, sometimes things don't pan out as planned. Or, Simons might, yet again (and maybe to larger degree), tire of fashion's relentless, creativity-killing pace. Of course, we sure hope he doesn't.