Suddenly | Disappointing, Raf Simons leaves Calvin Klein and takes effect immediately

Fashion headline reports: Once you make a mistake, you will face the danger of being eliminated, no matter which industry is the case, and fashion brands are losing patience.

According to the fashion business news, Raf Simons, who has been the chief creative officer since August 2016, left Calvin Klein, effective immediately, which is more than eight months ahead of the contract agreement, which shocked the industry, which means nearly one Rumors since the month have been confirmed. It is reported that Calvin Klein will not hold a fashion show in New York Fashion Week in the fall of 2019 in February next year. Currently, the group has not announced the replacement of Raf Simons.

As of yesterday's close, Calvin Klein's parent company PVH Group shares fell 1.79% to 88.72 US dollars per share, with a market value of about 6.806 billion.

It is worth noting that this is less than one month after Calvin Klein's parent company PVH released its third-quarter earnings. Emanuel Chirico, chairman and CEO of the group, admitted for the first time in the earnings report that Raf Simons' investment and output in creative marketing. Gradually unbalanced, the group hopes to recover some of its power, and Raf Simons has rejected the group's new offer and is currently seeking new jobs.

According to a women's daily newspaper quoted sources, Raf Simons's gradual loss in Calvin Klein has already shown signs. The brand suddenly handed over store design, visual merchandising, e-commerce and public relations to Marie Gulin-Merle, chief marketing officer, last fall, and decided to do so when Raf Simons first joined Calvin Klein.

Emanuel Chirico said that after the addition of Raf Simons, most of Calvin Klein's product sales did perform well, but the ready-to-wear series was too expensive and exceeded the target consumer's tolerance. “Whether it is the fashion or price of the design, we are all going. Too far and too fast."

According to fashion headline data, in the third quarter ended Nov. 4, Calvin Klein’s creative marketing expenses increased by $10 million from the same period of the previous year, and the brand’s total investment in the CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC series was as high as $60 million to $70 million. . During the period, Calvin Klein's sales growth slowed to 2% to record 963 million US dollars, and EBITDA fell 15% to $121 million. PVH's performance was also dragged down, with revenue up 7% year-on-year to $5.22 billion, which was not as good as analysts' expectations for the first time in two years.

Emanuel Chirico seems to have shirked responsibility for the sharp slowdown in third-quarter performance on Raf Simons. Ironically, he was the core decision maker who brought Raf Simons to Calvin Klein. After Emanuel Chirico publicly expressed disappointment with Calvin Klein's performance, whether Calvin Klein would renew his contract with creative director Raf Simons became the focus of the industry's attention and discussion.

Suddenly | Disappointing, Raf Simons leaves Calvin Klein and takes effect immediately
Suddenly | Disappointing, Raf Simons leaves Calvin Klein and takes effect immediately
Calvin Klein, modeled by Raf Simons, has been trying to find a point of convergence between high-end art and pop culture.

As the first designer to be responsible for everything from men's and women's underwear to perfumes to denim, accessories and men's and women's fashion collections, Emanuel Chirico has high expectations for Raf Simons, who have made a slogan to make Calvin Klein's parent company PVH a year. A group that sells $10 billion in revenue.

Under the leadership of Raf Simons, Calvin Klein ushered in the largest and highest frequency innovation in history, from brand culture to creative marketing, from online to offline, all towards art and high-end. After taking office, his first move was to change the brand logo, so that Calvin Klein, which was originally positioned in the middle and high-end market, became more "luxury" and cooperated with artist Sterling Ruby to set Calvin Klein's flagship at 654 Madison Avenue. The store is being refurbished.

Later, Raf Simons's first ready-to-wear collection in Calvin Klein was well received by the fashion industry, and some people lamented that "Calvin Klein has finally resurrected." From the data point of view, Raf Simons is indeed one of the heroes who led PVH to approach the $9 billion annual club. Before the third quarter, Calvin Klein was consistently described as the main growth engine for the group's performance in PVH's earnings report.

The turning point began in the second half of 2017, and the transformation strategy of Raf Simons on the surface was slowly questioned by the industry. On July 24 last year, Raf Simons announced that Calvin Klein's ready-to-wear collection changed its name to CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC. Some analysts believe that the new name is too long, and consumers may find it difficult to remember that the market is not highly accepted.

Secondly, Raf Simons is a transformational concept that highlights its “de-popularization”. Almost all of the new series of advertising blockbusters are model newcomers who don’t have much fame, failing to provoke much repercussions on social media. Although Calvin Klein successfully regained a game with the Kardashian film at the beginning of this year, some insiders revealed that this was not the idea of ​​Raf Simons, but the contract signed by the brand marketing department early in the morning.

At the same time, Raf Simons's conservative product design has become increasingly disappointing to consumers who have high expectations for the new Calvin Klein. After Calvin Klein and the Andy Warhol Visual Arts Foundation collaborated, Raf Simons launched the Andy Warhol “Self-portrait” series in June this year, which replicated Andy Warhol's self-portraits in different colors in pop art. Products include T-shirts, sweaters, sneakers and jeans, and the same theme lingerie collection was launched at the end of July.

What's even more surprising is that Raf Simons is doing the opposite when brands are cutting the line of sub-line to reduce the burden. This year, a new branch line called CALVIN KLEIN JEANS EST.1987 was added, the first one. The collection is based on American style, including Stars and Stripes and Western Denim Print. Perhaps the original intention of Raf Simons is to attract more young consumers, but this means a new big expense for PVH.

Earlier, some people in the industry said that when the star creative director can control all aspects of the brand, the group behind it may feel a little uneasy. Therefore, although Raf Simons has indeed raised Calvin Klein's brand positioning to a new level, the brand's third-quarter performance of Waterloo is a wake-up call for PVH, and Emanuel Chirico will inevitably be in the critical period of intense competition. Worried.

Some analysts pointed out that Calvin Klein's transformation path still has a long way to go. Continuous and strong growth is not simply a matter of changing the logo, the name of the series and the visual image. After all, fashion and business need to be interdependent.

What's more, the name of Raf Simons did not appear once in PVH's previous one-hour earnings conference call. In order to get Calvin Klein back on track, Emanuel Chirico revealed that the group will develop a new, more commercial direction, which is clearly contrary to Raf Simons' philosophy.

In addition, PVH will increase its investment in digital and multimedia channel marketing, and enhance the brand's exposure on Instagram and other platforms to radiate more millennial and Z generations of consumers. It is reported that PVH is ready to replace the photographer of Calvin Klein's advertising blockbuster, and invites Glen Luchford to take over the brand 2019 spring advertising blockbuster from the co-photographer Willy Vanderperre since Raf Simons took office.

On the product side, Emanuel Chirico revealed that he would redesign the 205W39NYC and Calvin Klein Jeans series and adjust the pricing before the end of January. At present, Calvin Klein Jeans business accounts for about 15% of the total retail sales of the brand. The best selling brand is the products distributed by G-III Group. It is estimated that the wholesale production of Calvin Klein will be handled by G-III Group by the end of the year. It is about $1.2 billion.

Odeon Capital analyst Alex Arnold said that Calvin Klein is clearly aware of the problem and is actively making changes, Credit Suisse retail analyst Michael Binnetti pointed out, "If the designer is not willing to make changes in product design, he is best Make up for it by other means. However, some analysts believe that Calvin Klein should set some basic guidelines before handing over all creative powers to Raf Simons, instead of blaming the designer for all the mistakes.

Three years ago, when Raf Simons left Dior, he admitted that the release of six series every year really made him breathless. Under such a dense release schedule, he almost lost the real "creation" time, and in Calvin Klein, he got the most. After freedom, his approach could not satisfy the ambition of PVH.

In an increasingly eager industry, the golden age of star creative directors may have really ended.