Calvin Klein 205W39NYC models during New York fashion week at the American stock exchange building.

American fashion brand to shut New York store and focus on denim and underwear

The American fashion brand Calvin Klein has announced that it is shutting its luxury collections business. It will instead focus on its existing categories, including denim and underwear.

It comes after the unexpected departure of Calvin Klein’s creative director Raf Simons – formerly of Christian Dior and Jil Sander – late last year. The designer, who changed the category’s name from Calvin Klein Collection to Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, cut short his contract which was due to end this August shortly after the CEO of parent company PVH Corp, Emanuel Chirico, said he was “disappointed by the lack of return on our investments in our Calvin Klein 205W39NYChalo business.”

After Simons’ exit, the company said in January that it planned to rebrand the line and was looking for a successor. Its decision to now terminate the collection entirely, as well as close its New York store, will reportedly result in 100 redundancies across New York and Milan in Italy. There are also plans to close its Milan office.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed to the Guardian that the brand still plans to dress VIPs for the red carpet and is looking for one person to take on design responsibilities for this as well as the remaining categories. It has not yet been decided if it will have a presence at New York fashion week in September. The source said that the brand “wasn’t walking away from aspirational product, but looking at it through a different lens”.

Simons, who joined the company in 2016, was given total creative control of its lines, including Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein Platinum, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear and Calvin Klein Home, with the objective to unify them under one vision. In addition to changing the name, he completely refitted the Madison Avenue flagship in New York in a collaboration with the architect Sterling Ruby.

Simons’ designs and creative direction for the house set the agenda for the season’s fashion trends, making the brand one of the most anticipated shows of New York fashion week. He created high-profile advertising campaigns featuring the Kardashian family. It is said to have failed, however, to deliver the financial results bosses were seeking. In the third quarter of 2018, pre-tax earnings fell to $121m, compared with $142m for the same period a year earlier, while revenues increased 2% to $963m over the year.

On Wednesday, reports suggested that Calvin Klein’s CEO, Steve Shiffman, still plans to create “aspirational” products, possibly along the same lines as fellow American brand Tommy Hilfiger, which is also owned by PVH Corp. The company travels the world with its successful see-now, buy-now model, staging large-scale fashion shows that feature collaborations with high-profile celebrities including Gigi Hadid and Zendaya.