Calvin Klein will not show during New York Fashion Week in February. WWD confirmed reports of tension between CK execs and Simons.
According to sources, the company decided in September to reduce some of Simons’ responsibilities and wanted him to agree to a new contract with fewer responsibilities. Sources said Klein decided certain areas of the business such as store design, visual merchandising, e-commerce, public relations and communications, and corporate social responsibility would report to Marie Gulin-Merle, chief marketing officer, rather than Simons, who had been given total responsibility for all creative areas when he joined in August 2016.
In late November, Emanuel Chirico, chairman and chief executive officer of PVH Corp., parent company of Calvin Klein, said in rather blunt terms on the company’s earnings call that the reimagined Calvin Klein — under Simons’ direction — is not working. He said the collection, renamed 205W39NYC, needed to become more commercial and that investments in the collection and advertising would be shifted elsewhere. Sources indicated that Simons caused a lot of havoc in the company and overspent on everything.
“While many of the product categories performed well, we are disappointed by the lack of return on our investments in our Calvin Klein 205W39NYC halo business and believe that some of Calvin Klein Jeans’ relaunched product was too elevated and did not sell through as well as we planned,” Chirico said at the time.
This comment was a swipe at Simons and his 205W39NYC collection and jeans, as well as a raft of other categories, global marketing and communications, visual creative services and store design.
Chirico said the redesigned Calvin Klein Jeans was a “fashion miss,” he told investors:
“From a product perspective, we went too far, too fast on both fashion and price. We are working on fixing this fashion miss, and we believe that our CK Jeans offering will be much more commercial and fashion-right beginning in 2019, especially for the fall 2019 season.”
Sources told WWD that CKI should have established ground rules before giving Simons so much responsibility to completely change the company’s well-established aesthetics and advertising.
Simons changed the teams, the ad campaigns and basically reinvented the business, which was generating some $8 billion in sales but had lost its momentum. Chirico has repeatedly said he believes Calvin Klein will be a $10 billion business.
Despite sales and mixed reviews, Simons has been winning a slew of awards and for the second year running, he won the CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and the year before, he scooped up both the women’s and men’s prizes — something that had never been done before.
Chirico told analysts the group has invested between $60 million and $70 million in 205W39NYC — and it hasn’t seen a return on the investment.
(Photos, Avalon; via WWD)