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FAREWELL, FRANCISCO! Costa (and partner Zucchelli) say goodbye to Calvin Klein

IT JUST WON'T END. The musical chairs game that has swept the industry ruthlessly has a long list of victims: Dundas, Wang, Simons, Elbaz, Slimane, Giornetti. The latest to get sucked in? Calvin Klein Creative Directors Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli (of respectively, women and men's lines). This time, it's not a shocking firing or an exasperated slap in the face of the quickening pace of the industry itself, but a calm and quiet departure. The brand is embracing the 'one door opens, another one closes' policy: chief executive Steve Shiffman announced that the pair is leaving so all the diffusion lines - CK and Calvin Klein jeans - can be consolidated under "one creative vision". Simple enough.... unless you consider what this all means, long-term. 

This departure, like all the others, has an underlying layer of complexities. Four days ago, Calvin Klein himself (the founder and namesake of the brand who stepped down approximately 14 years ago after selling the brand to PVH) spoke to Fashionista.com about the new creative decisions - specifically, those regarding nepogirls* and pop stars. Though he admitted he liked the casting of Justin Bieber in the CK ads, he was a bit more skeptical of reality star Kendall Jenner. In an interview, he eloquently explained to Maura Brannigan, 

"You know, I'm really not that familiar with [Kendall Jenner]. I'm honestly not. I'm sure she's a lovely young woman. [But casting her] is not the kind of thing I would have done, even today. Justin Bieber, yes, because I like him, not because he's got millions of followers. Now, models are paid for how many followers they have. They're booked not because they represent the essence of the designer, which is what I tried to do — they're booked because of how many followers they have online. I don't think that, long-term, is going to work. I don't think that's a great formula for success for the product you're trying to sell. However, if you take really exquisite photographs of the right people in the right clothes in the right location, and you put it online, that's fine. Just putting any old clothes on Kim Kardashian, long-term, isn't going to do a thing"  

Unsurprisingly, this made our days, yes, but also the rounds in the media. Yadda yadda, it was splashed all over every buzz site, fashion or otherwise, you know how it all goes. And that brings us to today. Flash forward four days later and the house announced the creative directors are leaving. Could this be a reprieve from the social obsession and a step towards honoring the talent and creativity the modeling world deserves? Again - this question has an underlying layer of complexities. The short answer is no. Most likely, Costa and Zucchelli did not step down solely because of this interview. For starters, decisions to change the entire business of a house take far more time and consideration and the people behind this switch most likely had been thinking about it for months. It'd be hard to make that big of a change in four days, especially one well organised (read the full business plan on BOF - after you finish this, of course.)

The longer answer is maybe, because guess which Belgian boy may be back in the game? Mr. Raf Simons himself, former creative director of Dior and frequent employer of all the girls you know and love (Julia Nobis, anyone?). Rumors are already flying about who's going to take over at the house. When someone told me, months ago, that Simons might just take over Calvin Klein, it was right after his original departure from Dior, and of course I was skeptical. There was absolutely no backing. But, now there's some validity. Google Simons' name, and the results that come up are promising. 

Simons 'murmured' to Alexander Fury just a few months ago that, when looking at men's collections, he sometimes didn't "even find fashion.... [just] wardrobe. Does it impress me?" he asked rhetorically. "Not really. With the evolution of our society, it’s not the biggest challenge, I think, to have it perfectly executed. I just wonder why more men’s fashion can’t push, and can’t try to take the responsibility. That men could manifest themselves the way that women manifest themselves." {via NYTimes} And after the most, well, we'll be honest here, boring season in years, this is incredibly, incredibly exciting. I've been stressing, and from what I've heard, you have been to at the utter lack of new developments in the fashion world. With incredibly influential designers like Olivier Rousteing designing for "the women of today" rather than designing for the future, the shock factor is gone and we reach a disappointing standpoint. This is a whole other topic, and my examination of that will be up soon, but in short: with Raf, a designer who scorns stagnation, great things may come. Could this be a stretch? Definitely. Rumors are rumors. But rumors are rumors for a reason - not for alliteration's sake but because they carry truth. And I'm optimistic about this one, to say the least.  

I should obviously stick to writing, not drawing.  

I should obviously stick to writing, not drawing.  

*A term invented by vogue commenter "Asaug" on this article. Also known as insta-girls, post-it's, the worst thing to happen to the modelling world, the best, or just simply "Kendall and Gigi". It depends on who you're talking to. You probably know how we feel. 


Thumbnail image via Surface Magazine. Original, un-doodled on picture of Raf Simons via Wonderland Magazine. Low quality doodles by Em.