What to Know About Calvin Klein’s Dual Departure


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Italo Zucchelli and Francisco Costa in 2013.

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Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Calvin Klein Inc. announced on Tuesday that Francisco Costa, the women’s creative director for Calvin Klein Collection, and Italo Zucchelli, the men’s creative director, would leave the brand. Here’s what to know about the latest jolt in a series of fashion shake-ups.

Both men shaped the brand for more than a decade

The Brazil-born and Fashion Institute of Technology-educated Costa came to Calvin Klein in 2001, after designing for Oscar de la Renta and Gucci (under Tom Ford). He assumed the women’s wear mantle in 2003 and won the CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2006 and 2008. He also won the 2009 Cooper Hewitt National Fashion Design Award, which meant face time with the first lady, Michelle Obama.

Zucchelli, a graduate of Polimoda Fashion School in Florence, arrived at Calvin Klein in 2004, after a stint at Jil Sander. His accolades include the 2009 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award. How Costa’s and Zucchelli’s industry praise translated into sales isn’t public knowledge; as Business of Fashion’s Lauren Sherman writes, “it’s unclear whether the company’s ready-to-wear collections — particularly the women’s line — were successful financially,” citing Calvin Klein’s former president and C.E.O., Tom Murry. He previously told the site, “It’s not a business that contributes to the bottom line and it probably never will be.”

Costa could be counted on for a dose of minimalism

Of his debut collection in September 2003, Cathy Horyn said that Costa “accomplished two essential things at Calvin Klein: he gave more credence to the trouser suit in women’s lives than to the giddy ruffle — a story of the 2004 spring collections — and he brought forward the notion that freedom in dress begins with female underpinnings, as Chanel knew when she popped women out of their corsets.” Her description can be applied to Costa’s streamlined offerings from the past 12 years, though his fall 2016 ready-to-wear in particular pushed the envelope — prints, plush furs, stones sewn into circular cutouts and a pantsuit as the closing look — but still read as Calvin.

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From left: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, John Shearer/Getty Images, Jason Merritt/Getty Images

His designs became red-carpet staples

Dozens of celebrities have worn Costa’s designs. Of note: Emma Stone in peach short sleeves at the 2011 Golden Globes, Jennifer Lawrence’s simple red Oscars dress from the same year and — of course — Lupita Nyong’o’s pearl-encrusted Academy Awards gown that was stolen from her Hollywood hotel room.

There’s now plenty of room for (potentially) Raf Simons

Women’s Wear Daily started tracking Raf-to-Calvin rumors months ago, and any commentary since from Simons has been closely studied. (Speaking to Alexander Fury about the possibility of Raf Simons women’s wear, the designer said: “Sometimes [in] a lot of the men’s I don’t even find fashion. I find wardrobe. Elegant, and beautiful, and modern, sometimes. Beautifully executed. Does it impress me? Not really. With the evolution of our society, it’s not the biggest challenge, I think, to have it perfectly executed.”) Calvin Klein plans to put women’s and men’s wear in the hands of one person, according to the announcement.

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