CALVIN KLEIN

Index

  1. The Origin
  2. CK Style
  3. Kelly Rector
  4. CK Underwear
  5. The Brand Suffers
  6. CK Acquired by PVH
  7. Brand Development
    1. New Lines Launched
    2. Store Openings & Production
    3. Kevin Carrigan
  8. Current Situation

The Origin

Calvin Klein is an American designer who founded the prêt-à-porter company carrying his name. In 1968 he opened Calvin Klein Limited, a coat shop in the York Hotel in New York City, with just $10,000. He comes from a family that owned drugstore in the Bronx. At school he made sketches of models in his math book and at home, after homework, he would practice sewing. Thus, having won over his parents’ resistance, he studied for a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1962. With Barry Schwartz, a schoolmate of his and Ralph Lauren, who was also born in the Bronx, helped Klein build a fashion and perfume empire. During the beginning, Lauren spent his days showing around his tie catalogue to every department store buyer, but Klein carried his sketches in a small case.

Calvin Klein at his Studio in 1980
Calvin Klein at his Studio in 1980

After five years of apprenticeship in various companies, he started his own business, specializing for a few years in the design of suits and neatly cut overcoats. In his exhibitions there’s no sense of show business. Young, tall, attractive, and impeccably dressed, he was always present where it mattered. Klein was capable of partying hard at the weekends but of turning into a very precise manager on Monday mornings, his personal image is a strong feature of his success.

CK Style

John Fairchild, the celebrated and feared editor of the only fashion newspaper (Womens Wear Daily), who could begin or end a designer, speaks of Klein as one of the world’s best designers. The writer claimed he is a real rarity in the panorama of American styling, which is characterized by an excellent cutting ability but little imagination. Also, Klein appeared on the September 1969 issue of Vogue magazine.

Calvin Klein Campaign with Brooke Shields 1982
CK Campaign with Brooke Shields 1982

Not only does he have creative talent but also advertising wisdom. In 1971 he created a strong eroticism in the campaign for the famous K jeans, which featured a very young Brooke Shields in 1971. This was the year he introduced perfectly cut sportswear garments and practical coordinates into his collections. Such as sailors’ jackets, wraps in soft rustic fabric and with a fur collar, shirts in crepe-de-Chine, striped silken blouses, sweaters, and velvet suits. His style is always very simple. He likes shades that match overlaid garments.

Calvin Klein 1993 Campaign
1993 Campaign

Through the seasons his designs continued to create the unexpressed wishes of his clientele, which contributed to the growing success of the brand. He balanced simplicity and precious touches in a sophisticated game of harmonies. His clothes focus on practicality: no useless decorations, no frills, but an elegance that always brings a second look.

A new clothing line, CK, and an underwear line are sold through a huge distribution network, supported by advertising campaigns built around the daring photographs by Bruce Weber.

Kelly Rector

At this point Klein was a star and his brand was growing very quickly, but he was also struggling with private difficulties that constantly put him in danger. So, when he meet and married Kelly Rector this was a very important time for him. Kelly had left Ralph Lauren’s atelier, married Klein and brought order to his life. They had collaborated through the end of the 70s, which was his more sophisticated and feminine aspect of his second creative period. They worked together and increased the presence of evening dresses, and introduced a greater degree of gracefulness in the day clothes. In addition, very linear jackets with squared shoulders and tight at the hips, snug blazers and very studied, simple blouses; but without giving up the sober image stressed by the restrained use of expensive fabrics.

Calvin Klein Jeans 1978
Calvin Klein Jeans 1978

Klein owes the loyalty of his customers to his careful research, the lack of complicated decorations and accessories, and the way he made his clothes. He created a cut in a way to allow the maximum wearability that was ready for mass production. It is also due to the incomparable taste of his jeans, garments that for so long were considered extraneous to the fashion world.

Calvin Klein was the first designer to receive the awards for the men’s and women’s Collections from the Council Of Fashion Designers of America in the same year (1993). In 1973 he won the Coty Award which had never been presented to such a young designer.

CK Underwear

Calvin Klein Iconic Underwear Campaign in 1992
1992 Iconic Underwear Campaign

Beginning in the 80s the brand had reached its most successful point and at this time Klein changed the American market of men’s underwear. He introduced a new clothing line CK that became a highly successful line of boxer shorts for women and a men’s underwear collection, which later grossed to $70 million in a single year. The new brand was supported by advertising campaigns built around the daring photographs by Bruce Weber.

Calvin Klein Famous Campaign with Mark Wahlberg
Famous Campaign with Mark Wahlberg

During the 1990s Calvin Klein’s head of menswear design, John Varvatos invented a new type of men’s underwear called boxer briefs, a hybrid of boxer shorts and briefs. The series became famous through a series of 1992 print ads featuring Mark Wahlberg, and have been called “one of the greatest apparel revolutions of the century.”

The Brand Suffers

In 1992, the company was close to filing for bankruptcy but remained untouched mainly due to success of the popular underwear, fragrances, and ck sportswear line. From 1997 a joint venture has linked the CK sportswear line with the Stefanel line of shops, which produces and distributes upon license in Europe and in the Middle East. Recently, it has launched a new children’s line in the European market, mixing American and European styles. Including basic jeans, denim jackets in different shades, and the permanently present T-shirts with the CK logo for little boys; and low-necked blouses or breathtaking shorts for little girls. The erotic advertising campaign that accompanied it stirred a scandal and the banning of the posters, with the accusation of being on the edge of pedophilia.

Calvin Klein Controversial Campaign
Controversial Campaign

In 1999 the brand announced it was for sale for $1 billion, but over the months there were no offer so Klein decided to take it off the market. During the beginning of the 2000s the company marketed a limited edition of the unisex perfume cK One. The three bottles were designed by three urban artists: Delta, from Holland, who created a futurist line, the graffiti artist Espo, with his long-necked women, and Futura, from New York, with the mysteries of shadows. In the Calvin Klein empire, the perfumes represent 34% of the group’s total turnover.

Calvin Klein Acquired By Phillips-Van Heusen

By 2002 the company as a whole have a turnover of $3 billion a year. In December Calvin Klein Inc. was acquired by the clothing giant Phillips-Van Heusen for $430 million cash and shares. The potential royalties, which could be between $200 and $300 million, were to be deferred over the course of the years. Klein and his partner Barry Schwartz had already tried to sell the company in 2000, but were unsuccessful. Klein remains the design inspirer of the 12 different products, for the lines Calvin Klein Collection, Ck and Ck.

One of the first effects of the sales is the creation of a partnership with the company Vestimenta from Trento, Italy. The company has been responsible for the distribution of the women and men’s prêt-à-porter lines, which were the first not produced inside the company. Also, Vestimenta already manufactures Emmanuel Ungaro’s women’s prêt-à-porter and Trussardi’s men’s prêt-à-porter, and has a joint venture with Giorgio Armani.

In  April 2003 the designer admitted in public to abuse of drugs and alcohol and declared he wanted to seek a cure. He had a history of drug use, and in 1988 had been hospitalized for drug problems. Because of this, later certain terms of the license linking the Calvin Klein company (already acquired by Phillips-Van Heusen) to the Warnaco group were modified, and an agreement was signed for the beachwear line, which was to become effective from the beginning of 2004.

Calvin Klein SS 2003
Spring/Summer 2003

At the same time, Fingen Apparel, a licensee of Calvin Klein Jeans, created an under-16 division designed by the stylist. The designer, 60, announced that he was no longer to follow the collections closely, but that he was to have a consultancy role (in style/administration), in collaboration with Bruce Klatsky, President and CEO of Phillips-Van Heusen.

Later in October, Sara Dennis left her title as Senior Vice-President of the jeans, underwear, and swimwear sector of Calvin Klein to move to Liz Claiborne, a New York company quoted on the Stock Exchange. It was also announced that Phillips-Van Heusen intended to relaunch the clothing line cK Calvin Klein in Asia in 2004, following its suspension in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East because of poor results.

Calvin Klein Shoes Bags Advertising in 2000
Shoes & Bags Advertising in 2000

A fundamental element in this operation was the long-term license with cK 21 Hidungs Pte. Ltd for the men’s and women’s sportswear, menswear, men’s and women’s shoes, bags and small leather goods. This also favored the opening of stores and shops-in-shops in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and China, while franchised sales points were to be opened in Korea, Taiwan, and China. By December the first American Calvin Klein Underwear Store was opened in Prince Street, New York: a large space for men’s and women’s underwear and fragrances.

Brand Development

New Lines Launched

In January 2004 a contract was signed with the Swatch Group for the worldwide launch of a Collection of bijoux and jewels. Then in March, Robert Mazzoli became Warnaco’s Chief Creative Officer and was to control the underwear collections bearing the Calvin Klein brand name.

Later in July, a new swimwear line for young girls was launched, called Choice Calvin Klein. Also, Calvin Klein launched the new high-level line for men and women called Ck39 from the name of New York street where Calvin Klein’s headquarters and graphic studio are situated. It covers trousers, jean jackets, knitwear garments, and vintage style T-shirts.

Store Openings & Production

In November 2004 Calvin Klein Inc. elected Giuseppe Rossi as General Manager and General Director of Calvin Klein Europe. During his reign the first Italian Calvin Klein Collection store was opened in Rome. On three floors, the interior décor was by RetailDesign and the architect Paolo Lucchetta, who took inspiration from the work of John Pawson for the flagship stores of New York and Paris.

Calvin Klein Flagship Store at Madison Avenue New York
Flagship Store at Madison Avenue, New York

In February 2005, the Italian shoe factory Rodolfo Zengarini, from Montegranaro, obtained the license for the production and distribution of the women’s shoe Collection. Zengarini, already licensee of the men’s line, replaced Rossimoda.

Through 2005 there were many store opening including the first was the store in Dubai’s Wafi Mall, in partnership with Belbadi Fashion, where every article manufactured by the Calvin Klein empire can be bought. The own-brand store Calvin Klein Collection was opened in Italy, on Corso Matteotti on the corner with Via S. Pietro all’Orto in Milan. Also, Calvin Klein concluded an agreement with Finger for the opening of 50 freestanding ck Calvin Klein stores in Europe and the Middle East, and with Warnaco for the women’s swimwear.

Kevin Carrigan

Calvin Klein SS 2006 by Kevin Carrigan
Spring/Summer 2006 by Kevin Carrigan

In June Kevin Carrigan was appointed Creative Director and was responsible for the look of the men’s and women’s retail and wholesale activities, and of the design supervision for coats, jackets, hosiery, knitwear, handkerchiefs, ties, and umbrellas.

In 2006 Calvin Klein  releases the summer CK One fragrance, being this one of its best selling products. Inspired by ocean and beach, aiming at dynamic young urban consumers, this limited unisex fragrance is the third version of CK One collection.  After the success of summer CK One collection, more fragrances were launched in following years. In 2008 Euphoria eau de toilette was launched, following CK Free in 2009 and CK One Shock for man and woman in 2011.

Calvin Klein Kevin Carrigan Justin Bieber Campaign 2015
Justin Bieber Campaign 2015 by Kevin Carrigan

In October of 2012 fashion group PVH acquired Warnaco Group in a $2.9 billion deal, which means various Calvin Klein brands including Calvin Klein Jeans, Underwear lines, sports lines now all belong to PVH Group.

In 2015, according to PVH group, Calvin Klein company spent over $320 million in advertising campaigns to engage with new customers and potential buyers.  This major investment including having Kendall Jenner featured in global limited edition denim series, photo shot by established fashion photographer Alasdair McLellan.  Bringing Justin Bieber and supermodel Lara Stone for 2015 Calvin Klein global advertising campaign, this campaign was announced globally through brand’s social media, and it was spread in 20 countries covered print, digital media, outdoor billboards.

Current Situation

In February of 2016 the company announced Raf Simons as new Chief Creative Officer of the brand, his minimalist and deep connection with youth culture is perfectly align with Calvin Klein brand. In addition, it states in the contract that Raf Simons will have complete creative control in everything, from brand image to all collections.  

Calvin Klein Raf Simons First Collection
Raf Simons First Collection

In February 2017, Raf Simons made his debut with men and women’s ready-to-wear fall  collection at Calvin Klein’s headquarter in New York. One month later, Calvin Klein unveiled a new logo through its Instagram account. The new logo is designed in collaboration with English art director and graphic designer Peter Saville. According to the brand, the new logo is a “a return to the spirit of the original.”

In April of 2017, Calvin Klein launched a new campaign directed by Sofia Coppola, for its underwear line. This new advertising is truly inspiring, it is featured in Lauren Hutton, a 73-year-old model and actress, and according to Vogue it proves “there is no age limit to being an underwear model.”

Later in June, inspired by brand’s iconic fragrance Obsession, Calvin Klein launched a new fragrance for both men and women named Obsessed. The Obsessed campaign will be using Kate Moss’s iconic photography shot by Mario Sorrenti for 1990z Obsession advertising.

Calvin Klein Obsessed Fragrance
Calvin Klein Obsessed Fragrance

DONNA KARAN

Donna Karan is an American designer who created Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels. Her most Successful line is DKNY which targets young, active, and urban clientele who appreciate a casual elegance.

Index

  1. The Origin
  2. Anne Klein
  3. Her style
  4. DKNY Launched
  5. LVMH Purchases Donna Karan International
  6. DKNY PR Girl
  7. Brand Development
  8. Current Situation

The Origin

Donna Karan Portrait
Donna Karan Portrait

Donna Karan is an American designer, born as Donna Faske in Forest Hills, Long Island in 1948. She decided to become a designer when very young, having been surrounded by the world of fashion from childhood, her mother, father, and uncle all worked in the industry. After high school, she attended the Parson’s School of Design in New York. She spent the Summer of her second year, working for Anne Klein & Co. She was later hired as their assistant designer.

Anne Klein

Donna Karan at Anne Klein in 1980
Donna Karan at Anne Klein in 1980

In 1974 Anne Klein died suddenly and Karan became the stylistic director at the age of 25. In 1982 she created the diffusion line Anne Klein II, which already bore her hallmark clean and modern style. Two years later these qualities were distinguished in her eponymous Collection, Donna Karan, which was the surname of her first husband who she married in 1973 and divorced immediately after. The launch of her own brand was made possible by Takiyho Inc., Japanese company owner of Anne Klein & Co.

Her Style

The Collection, dynamic and essential in style, introduced her concept of the seven easy pieces. She proposed an intelligent wardrobe composed by few interchangeable pieces, perfect to wear in every moment of the day for a working woman, to whom she looks with particular attention. The color black is still the basis of her Collections today, a non-color that she regards as a canvas ready for painting. She reintroduced the leotard, proposing it in new, tight modeling stretch fabric to wear as clothing with a jacket for the office, and with a necklace for the evening.

DKNY Leotard Campaign 1990
Leotard Campaign 1990

The versatility and simplicity of the leotard had a huge impact on the dressing style of the second half of the 1980s, when there was a renewed interest in physical fitness and the leotard was capable of embracing this. Karan’s wrapping forms are typical of her style to accentuate the feminine lines and hide its defects. She uses cashmere, preferably in black, to stimulate the senses. Since the start of brand, new lines have been launched and new stores have opened every year.

DKNY Launched

In 1988 Karan extended her women’s ‘Donna Karan New York’ line by creating a less expensive clothing line for younger women, called DKNY. DKNY is the most successful line proved through record of sales. It is medium expensive with a target young, active, urban clientele who appreciates a casual elegance.

DKNY Commercial in 1990
DKNY Commercial in 1990

Several agreements have concluded on license, one of the most important is the one with Estée Lauder for a line of cosmetics in 1997. The Donna Karan empire now includes: women’s, men’s, and children’s wear, with lines ranging from elegant to casual, as well as accessories, cosmetics, and interior decor lines. Her second husband, Stephan Weiss, who she married in 1977, manages the company. It is a business that employs 2,000 workers and is quoted on the New York stock exchange. During the 1990s, Karan embraced the New Age philosophy in an attempt to find an existential balance in her frenetic life. She said:

“Everything I do is a matter of heart, body, and soul”.

Her personal and economic involvement is very important to her on the social front. She participated in two committees for the struggle against AIDS and in a charity for the research on ovarian cancer. She has won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award on several occasions, as well as the Coty American Fashion Critics award and other awards in the course of her career. Her old college honored her with an ad honorem degree in 1987. She lectures regularly at the Parson’s School of Design and she is on the committee of directors. Several books have been written about her, her style, and her ascent to designer of international fame.

LVMH Purchases Donna Karan International

In April 2001 the designer announced the sale of Donna Karan International for the sum of $250 million. The purchaser is the French group Lvmh, which had already acquired Donna Karan’s holding company. The total sale amounts to $643 million. The brand’s headquarters remain in New York. Lvmh’s intention is to ferry the company towards a luxury market. In 2002, DKNY re- launches its kidswear in collaboration with CWF (children worldwide fashion). DKNY jeans joined the American White House’s anti-drug campaign with release of a calendar that asking celebrities what their anti-drug is. Fourteen celebrities, including musicians and actors such as Enrique Iglesias, Brendan Fehr and Jay Hernandez, were featured in the calendar.

Donna Karan DKNY Fall/Winter 2003
DKNY Fall/Winter 2003 Collection

Later in May 2003 Donna Karan International announced that it would not produce a men’s Collection for the first time since 1992. Also, a convergence of the different facets of a woman’s life were seen on the runway for DKNY f/w 2003. The schoolgirls, the career woman, the preppy, and the punk there was something for everyone. The year 2003 reflected the sidewalk of the dynamic New York City; the spring collection was a revisit to the retro tinged dressing. DKNY hosted the Vanity Fair “In concert” to benefit Step Up Women’s Network, musician Mya and actress Chloe Sevigny attend the event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. The first flagship store for Japan was opened in Omotesando: Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

In 2004 the company re-Launched the menswear collection and the unconventional location for DKNY show marked one of the most remarkable year in its history. The menswear and womenswear collection was for the Urban Dwellers, the style ambitious, the time starved: The New Yorkers. Also this year, Donna Karan International and Luxottica Group S.p.A. signed a five-year licensing agreement for the design, production and worldwide distribution of Donna Karan and DKNY prescription frames and sunglasses.

In 2005 Donna Karan was awarded with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” to recognize her outstanding efforts in the industry. Since 2005, Donna Karan has offered online shopping of its DKNY lines at the label’s web site. Products range from womenswear, accessories, shoes, baby clothing, and the PURE collection to menswear.

Mark Weber, the former chief executive officer of Phillips-Van Heusen, was appointed as the creative director for Donna Karan International replacing Jeffry Aronsson. The venue of DKNY show still remains a statement for the brand the 2006 spring collection was presented in Manhattan’s Classic Car Club, where models reclined amid streamlined roadsters in clothes borrowing style from the sixties.  

After the death of Karan’s husband in 2001 suffering from Cancer she felt the need to convince medical professionals to treat the patient, not just the disease, so  she established the Urban Zen foundation in 2007. Also, the company launched its first collection with Stardoll in August, an online community for female fashion lovers. In Spring 2008 brought back the seventies, the iconic jumpsuits was played with great bounce and upbeat energy.

DKNY PR GIRL

Donna Karan Aliza Licht
Aliza Licht

Donna Karan started on social media in 2009 as one of the first luxury fashion brands to be in the space. The DKNY PR girl on twitter and tumblr, managed by Aliza Licht became a portal to engage consumers and reply to their complaints. Also, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the brand’s launch it focused on its bag collection and released seven new items each season starting autumn. Celebrations continued as the spring 2009 collection venue was switched from its usual standing-room-only to Bryant Park. This season saw a great connection with street wear than the previous seasons. The collection was embracing the momentum of fast fashion. Wearable basics with a hint of fun.

2010 was a year where DKNY launched itself into being a staple part of any girls wardrobe. It was mix of the mother-daughter style. DKNY ethos the buy now –wear now value through its collection through fall and spring 2010. Karan designed the prestigious Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2010, an honor to acknowledge the work with the Urban Zen Haiti Artisan Project. Karan was honored with a Gordon Parks Foundation Award for using creative means to change and educate the world.

Brand Development

At the beginning of 2012, DKNY opened its first stores in China and Russia. The company targeted fashion-minded fans via a new Facebook application that allows users to follow the creation of the brand’s dresses from start to finish. The Atelier Facebook app gives brand enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about their favorite dresses from Donna Karan.

The #UK2012 was a campaign started to re-open its store in London, DKNY reached out to 50 industry influencers and asked them to begin discussing it using the #UK2012 hashtag. For DKNY, #UK2012 became a trending topic on Twitter with no paid media. It was also covered by the Wall Street journal as an extremely successful campaign.

Fall menswear DKNY presented its latest menswear collection at the glass-walled Nasdaq Market Site building, the first men’s brand to do so. The collection showed a new detail with every jacket having an iPhone pocket hidden in it.

During the 2013 MET Gala, an event to which most people do not have live access, DKNY made its own Twitter Ball to invite consumers to view the live stream with the brand. The online event tagline was “if you’re not invited, you’re invited.” The event generated 408 user tweets mentioning @DKNY, @VogueMagazine and #METGala . Vogue also streamed @DKNY tweets on its Web site during the night.

Donna Karan Art Installations In Time Square
Art Installations In Time Square

DKNY expanded its outdoor advertising efforts through a variety of art installations around the world. It commissioned 10 artists from 10 cities; New York, London, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Kuwait City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo to create outdoor art that interprets New York City. In addition to the microsite, DKNY h also released an augmented reality app for iOS and Android that invites users to take photos of each work to pull up a contextual video. To spark further engagement, a 10 x 13-foot piece of 3D art in London was moved among three undisclosed locations. To find it, users had to seek out clues on Twitter and Facebook.

Though primarily a branding campaign, there is a sales tie-in: DKNY released a #dknyarts collection featuring work printed on tote bags, scarves and other items.

Donna Karan Cara Delevingne 2014
Cara Delevingne Collection 2014

2014 started with a campaign which included a special collaboration with Cara Delevingne for a capsule collection, and also an Instagram contest to find the perfect models to shoot with Cara in New York. As a result, just within the first 12 hours of the campaign, there were more than 23,000 submissions with the specific hashtags.

DKNY marked its 25th anniversary revisiting some of the line’s greatest hits, Carrie Bradshaw made pieces like the low back naked dress particularly famous during this period. Also, DKNY launched in the middle eastern market by a capsule collection during Ramadan. Partnering with notable celebrities it reached a wider audience.

LVMH Sells DKNY

LVMH agreed to sell Donna Karan International to G-III Apparel Group for $650 Million. Then, in June 2015 Donna Karan steps down from the label. Aliza Licht leaves DKNY PR girl portal following Donna Karan. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne appointed as the new Creative Directors of DKNY. In addition, Hector Muelas was named Chief Image Office of Donna Karan International. After such huge changes the year ended by the design of the new logo of DKNY, the typeface Franklin Gothic replaced the blocky lettering, the logo was launched in spring 2016.

Donna Karan Creative Directors Dao Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne
Creative Directors Dao Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne

Chow and Osborne made attempts to retain the brand identity as being a mature womenswear brand. They decided that 40% of the global media budget will be invested digitally. This was a significant step for the brand, which invested 5 percent in digital in 2015.

The company participated in the NEW INC series, a part of DKNY’s collaboration with the museum’s New Women Project, which provides support to female artists. Also, they launched an Experiential Bus Tour Campaign for the DKNY #BeTempted Perfume Launch. It was created around a promotional bus tour that travelled across the UK with a bespoke photo experience on board.

Current Situation

Donna Karan DKNY 2017 Campaign
DKNY 2017 Campaign

In 2017 Bella Hadid is the muse for the new DKNY campaign. Also, there is a new partnership deal with Farfetch’s Black & White Division, DKNY is trying to connect with consumers on multiple levels. DKNY co-creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne exited the company January, along with DKI chief executive officer Caroline Brown.

DKNY is re-launching  its site to  accelerate e-commerce for shoppers and trying to capitalize on Farfetch’s proprietary technology. Features such as intuitive navigation, individualized messaging, wish list features, a localized homepage and a fully responsive mobile platform and offer same-day shipping in New York, London, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with Manchester to follow.

RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren is an American brand founded in 1967 by fashion designer, Ralph Lauren. They produce and market: apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances.

Index

  1. The Origins
  2. First Collection
  3. The Style
  4. Expansion of the Brand
  5. Ralph Lauren in the Cinema
  6. Awards & Donations
  7. The Financial Situation
  8. The Recent Year’s

The Origins

Ralph Lipschitz (1939). American designer, born in Bronx, New York. Since his childhood, Ralph Lauren, had shown great passion and love towards the industry of fashion, which supported his career’s paths. He learned the profession by working in the field between 1956 and 1966. His job titles include shop assistant, buyer, and agent in several department stores in New York, including the Alexander stores, Allied stores, Bloomingdale’s, Brooks Brothers, and Rivetz in Boston. Also, he took evening courses in business management at City College in New York.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren 1971 Working is his Office
Ralph Lauren (1971) Working is his Office

First Collection

In 1967 designed and handmade a professional tie collection. He innovated the wide tie style, named “Polo” for Beau Brummel. The collection was a huge success and a year later he established the independent brand, Polo by Ralph Lauren, which made its début with a tailored menswear collection.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren First Tie Collection Style
Ralph Lauren First Tie Collection Style

The Style

Since starting out, his style has interpreted the past with a touch of romanticism, blending the traditions of the English aristocracy, above all, the impeccable Duke of Windsor, with the stars of old Hollywood, such as Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. Also, he designs with thoughts such as sports, African safaris, and vacations in New England. Ralph Lauren was able to expand his design to a full menswear line, and was awarded the City Award for his men’s designs. His style was highly influenced by his dream of living as an American high ivy-league society where classic, elegant, and a smart look were most important.

He says: “My purpose in fashion is to achieve the dream of dreams: the most beautiful reality that one can imagine.”

In this manner he has created a style that is by now recognized as typically American. His style is appreciated all over the world by those looking for a slice of the American Dream.

Expansion of the Brand

In 1971 he launched his first womenswear collection and introduced the famous logo of the polo player into knitwear. That same year, Lauren opened his first boutique in Beverly Hills, and a corner space in Bloomingdale’s, New York. The first international store opened in London in 1981 and by then there were about 100 around the world. The New York showroom in the former Rhinelander mansion in Madison Avenue opened in 1986. The store mirrors his way of thinking about fashion and life, proposing an eternal elegance and a very high, timeless quality.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren First Collection of Fitted Shirt's
Ralph Lauren First Collection of Fitted Shirt’s

By the 1990s, Ralph Lauren had about 20 clothing lines for men, women, teenagers, and children. Also, several fragrances and the line of household items are successful. Several lines of accessories are produced under license.

Ralph Lauren in the Cinema

He has also designed several costumes for the cinema. In 1973 he clothed Robert Redford in the movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In 1977 he launched a new fashion when he dressed Diane Keaton in men’s clothes in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall: jackets and pants in soft tweeds, shirt and tie, waistcoat and felt hats, everything assembled in a totally new ironic and sensual way. The success did not stop but was continuously built with extending products such as fragrance in 1978 up until today and different lines such as of Polo Sport in 1992, Purple Label in 1995, and Lauren Ralph Lauren in 1996. Ralph Lauren did not stop there, he also started reaching out different market such as restaurants and bars that were opened in 1999 at Chicago and other major places in the coming years such as Paris (2010) and New York (2015).

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Dressed Diane Keaton in Annie Hall
Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Dressed Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (Photo by Moviestore Collection)

Awards & Donations

The list of prizes and awards he has won is extremely long, including an ad honorem degree in Classical Literature from Brandeis University in 1996. Also, some of his creations are in the permanent collection of New York’s Fashion Institute. Later, in 1983 a retrospective of his work was held in the Denver Art Museum in Colorado. Over the years he made significant donations to humanitarian causes, for example, research into cancer and Aids. In 1998 he offered $13 million for the restoration of the first American flag, the original star-spangled banner. The company was quoted on the New York Stock Exchange in 1997. Two years later Ralph Lauren bought Club Monaco, Canadian traders in retail fashion, for $52.5 million, making its own name as one of the international powers in the field of prêt-à-porter.

In January of 2000, the American company bought the licensee company for Europe, Poloco of Paris, for $200 million. Also, with the development of technology, Ralph Lauren kept his positioning by launching official web site in 2000. In August 2001, Lillian Wang von Stauffenberg and Lauren DuPont became the new designers for the women’s collection.

During the first half of the year the company had a turnover of $898.3 million, an increase of 3.8% compared to 2000. Net profits amounted to $125.1 million. The multinational had 231 stores worldwide. In the United States sales represented 78.1% of the total; in Japan and Europe, respectively, 10% and 7.3%. The clothes and shoes bearing the Ralph Lauren brand name were mostly manufactured in Italy. As of 2001, global sales reached a level of $2.6 billion.

In 2001 the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation was founded and for breast cancer awareness Ralph Lauren launched the Pink Pony initiative to help raise awareness. In the spring 2002 fashion show models were wearing the Pink Pony T-Shirt, which became a symbol of the campaign.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Tee Spring 2002 Runway Show
Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Tee Spring 2002 Runway Show

The Financial Situation

February of 2002 For the first time the group presented its men’s collection in Milan, in its headquarters at 27 Via San Barnaba (designed by the architect Mino Fiocchi). It is an exact reproduction of the designer’s house. Later in December, after 25 years of a license agreement with Seibu, Ralph Lauren took back control in Japan, acquiring 50% of the company operating under the general license. The total investment amounted to $70 million.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Flagship in Milan on 27 Via San Barnaba
Ralph Lauren Flagship in Milan on 27 Via San Barnaba

In January 2003 Ralph Lauren moved store locations in Milan and chose Via Montenapoleone for his first own-brand boutique in Milan. The store opened in Fall 2004. With more than 20 collections, 265 stores all over the world, and a retail value of $8 billion, Polo Ralph Lauren aimed at reaching, in the next five years, a turnover of $1 billion in the European continent alone.

The same year, the designer launches the Rugby line, a complete collection for teenagers aged 16 to 25. The line obviously inspires the same sport. In October, he opened his first Rugby store in Boston. In 2005, sales grew around 38%. There were notable increase in profits, especially in the third and the last quarter of 2004. And the new year begins with an increase of receipts, rising to $74.8 million, over the $35.4 million of the year before.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Rugby Line
Ralph Lauren Rugby Line

In 2006, Ralph Lauren opened its largest shop in Omotesando, Tokyo, 2230 square meters of Ralph Lauren’s entire world show. In 2007, two single monarchs were opened in Moscow. In 2008, once again Ralph Lauren is confirmed as the official sponsor of Wimbledon, the most exclusive tennis tournament in the world, and dedicates a collection to this event.

The Recent Year’s

To enrich the brand luxury positioning they underwent several collaborations and brand extensions. In 2007 Ralph Lauren decided to reach the industry of jewelry and accessories by partnering with Swiss Luxury Goods Group and the partnership still exists today.  Another partnering was with J.C. Penney for launching American Living for Ralph Lauren home collection. However, this collaboration did not last long and ended by 2012. Also, Ralph Lauren opened the sophisticated line called Black Label in 2009 and then reaching out the kid’s section through the “Pink Pony” collection in the same year as well. For the women’s line, in 2010, the brand started to launch the line Lauren’s Handbags and Accessories. Later, in 2012 the Rugby line, which started in 2005, is officially discontinued.

The latest highlight was the Ricky Bag in 2016, which was inspired from his wife. The bag had a discreet rechargeable battery to power the internal LED light and also a USB port to charge mobile devices. Due to the unique design, this collection also was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Ricky Bag
the Iconic Ricky Bag

At the end of 2015, Ralph Lauren officially stepped down as CEO, but will remain executive chairman and chief creative director. Stefan Larsson, a Swedish born previous executive of Old Navy and Gap, took Lauren’s position as CEO. Unfortunately, after a year, Larsson stepped down after a disagreement with Lauren on how to revive the brand in the new era. Currently, Ralph Lauren is looking for a CEO.

Through the year Ralph Lauren never stopped envisioning future. In 2016 during New York fashion week they partnered with Periscope, Twitter’s livestream app, creating the first livestream of the luxury’s runway show in Manhattan and streamed on a billboard in London’s Piccadilly Circus and @RalphLauren Periscope account. With continuous expansion of stores and products’ development, Ralph Lauren currently has more than 500 directly operated stores worldwide and international licensing partners around the world.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Ralph Lauren Current 2017 Campaign
Current 2017 Campaign

Since the brand’s early age, it has been trusted to become the official outfitter of U.S. Olympic Team for almost every season of the competitions. He has also designed suits for government officials. In the 2016 US elections he designed outfits for both Democrats and Republicans during the campaign and inauguration.

Raf Simons

Raf Simons (1968). Belgian fashion designer who launched his personal fashion line in 2005. Then, later became creative director of Jil Sander, Dior, then Calvin Klein.

Index

  1. The Origin
  2. Exhibitions
  3. The Legacy
  4. Bomber Jacket
  5. Summer 2016: Creative Director of Calvin Klein
  6. CFDA 2017 Designer of the Year

The Origin

Raf Simons (1968). Belgian fashion designer who grew up on the Belgian-Dutch border and studied industrial design in Genk. He started as a furniture designer in 1991 for the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck in Antwerp.

From here, Walter taught him the basics of the trade, and meet Linda Loppa, director of the Royal Académie des Arts, which changed his life. With Linda’s father, who is a well-known dressmaker in Belgium, he produced his first signed collection. Later, in 1995 he launched his brand and started to create history.

Exhibitions

In January 2003, with Francesco Bonami, Simons curated the exhibition Il Quarto Sesso (The Fourth Sex) about the excesses of adolescence. It was presented as part of the Pitti Immagine Discovery programme.

Then, in June 2005, Simons celebrated ten years in business with a runway event, the video installation Repeat and the monograph Raf Simons Redux at the 68th Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence.

The Legacy

In 2005 The designer presents his new second line, Raf by Raf Simons. With this collection, the designer returns to the distinctive traits of his style in a new and modern key. A sort of basic at lower prices than his first line.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons Last Jil Sanders Show
Last Jil Sanders Show

Later, in July, Simons was appointed creative director of Jil Sander and planned to make his debut in January 2006 with his first menswear collection. He took over from Jil Sander after the falling out between the designer and the Prada Group, who owns the company. 2012 was the end of his reign at Jil Sander, and he presented his last collection that left the audience crying and himself very emotional. Then, he pressed on and officially became the creative director of Dior.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons Emotional at Last Jil Sanders Show
Emotional at Last Jil Sanders Show

Also a special moment, is the debut of his first Dior collection. He mesmerized the audience with an air of beauty that only the combination of Raf Simons and Dior could bring along. In the beautiful film, Dior and I, there is beautiful moment when he cries on the terrace with his right hand, Pieter Mulier, as he realizes that he is about to showcase his first Dior haute couture show. The whole film is a feast of love, dedication, humility, and respect for the petites mains of the house.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons First Dior Haute Couture ShowFirst Dior Haute Couture Show

Raf Simons legacy, especially for his men’s label, along with Jil Sanders and Christian Dior, is nothing but magical. While each brand had a very distinct identity, values, and personality, Simons was metamorphosing from a rebellious youthfulness, to sharp minimalism, and finally romantic perfectionism at Dior.

Summer 2016: Creative Director of Calvin Klein

In summer 2016 it was officially announced that Raf Simons left Dior and became the new creative director of American fashion brand, Calvin Klein. He explains why he left Dior for Calvin Klein,

“To be really honest, the attraction and the reason why I came to Calvin is because it has the highest and the lowest and everything in between, so you can reach out to everybody. Which, in high fashion, is not always easy. It was not something that was possible at Dior, for example. It is possible at Calvin Klein.”

Mame Fashion Dictionary Raf Simons First Calvin Klein CollectionFirst Calvin Klein Collection

CFDA 2017 Designer of the Year

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons CFDA Award
Designer of the Year at CFDA Fashion Awards

In June of 2017 Raf Simons became the second designer in the history of American fashion to win Designer of the year at the CFDA awards for both the men’s and womenswear categories.

Simons is only second to Calvin Klein, the designer and fashion house that Simons reins as the chief creative officer, who had the same double honor in 1993. The two men won the award at almost the same age; Klein at 51 and Simons at 49 years old.

Simons big win is quite the welcome from the American Fashion Elite. The award comes at a time where his first Calvin Klein collection, due the fall of 2017, is the most anticipated collection of all fashion houses. The fashion world is anxious to see Simons vision for Calvin Klein.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer who launched his own fashion label in 1994 and later created the diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Also, he reigned as creative director at Louis Vuitton for 16 years.

The Beginning

Marc Jacobs (1963) is an American designer born in New York City. After graduating from the High School of Art and Design in 1981, he attended Parson’s School of Design where he graduated in 1984 with the best grades, obtaining three awards. At the same time, he designed his first handmade knitwear Collection, presented with his own label for Ruben Thomas Inc. In the same year he established a company with Robert Duffy, the Jacobs Duffy Design.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs Portrait
Marc Jacobs Portrait

In 1986 Jacobs designed the first ready-to-wear Collection for Kathiyama USA, always with his label. Two years later, he made a quality impact with a show in a huge parking lot in New York. In 1989 Jacobs and Duffy united with Perry Ellis. Duffy was appointed president and Jacobs vice-president of womenswear design.

Marc Jacobs Establishes Company

In Autumn 1993 he established the Marc Jacobs International Company. In 1994 he signed his first license for Renown Look and Mitsubishi for distribution in Japan. Shortly after, he signed a license for men and women’s shoe Collection with Iris, which has its plant near Venice. In January 1997, Jacobs was appointed artistic director and Duffy studio director for Louis Vuitton. Then, 2 years alter in 1999 he checked himself into rehab, got clean, and focused on developing Louis Vuitton’s first ready to wear line while expanding his own label.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2015
Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2015

In 2001 Jacobs and Duffy presented a second line Marc by Marc Jacobs, which included shoes, bags, and accessories. Men and women’s shoes are the result of an agreement signed with the shoe factory Rossi Moda Spa. Later, in September the designer launched his first fragrance, Marc Jacobs Perfume.

Awards & New Store Openings

In 2002 the Council of Fashion Designers of America named Marc Jacobs the Menswear Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year in 1998/99, 2003 and 2005 and the Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2010. In December 2003 Marc Jacobs brand debuted a household Collection composed of furniture.

Mame Fashion Dictionary Marc Jacobs CFDA 2010 Womenswear Designer of the year
Marc Jacobs CFDA 2010 Womenswear Designer of the Year

2004 was a busy year including the launch of the first multi-brand store in the USA, in Newbury Street, Boston. Then, in August new stores opened in Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu thanks to the agreement with Imaginex. This was followed by another important event: the third woman’s fragrance, Blush, was launched thanks to an alliance with the established Lancaster group.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs Fragrance Blush
Marc Jacobs Fragrance Blush

Also, the American brand Fossil made a license agreement with the company for the production and the distribution of women and men’s watches, under the brand Marc by Marc Jacobs. The new lines were produced in Switzerland and sold in Marc Jacobs boutiques and selected department stores around the world. Then, the Italian Sàfilo Spa started the production of an eyewear Collection, which was to be put on sale from Spring of the following year.

March 2005 marked the opening of many sales points: two in Los Angeles on Melrose Place and one in Florida, in Bal Harbour. Later, in June Marc Jacobs received the Fashion Designer of America award for womenswear. In August 2005, the brand lauched its children-wear line, called Little Marc.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs LA Store
Store in LA on Melrose

In January 2006, the company opened the first monobrand store in Rue Montpensier in Paris, a boutique of 150 square meters. At that time, the collections were also distributed in twelve mono-brand stores in the US and thirteen mono-brand stores in Asia.

The 2007 was an eventful year including the launch of his first eyewear collection, his new Marc Jacobs Home Fragrance Collection and his first fragrance Daisy. In 2009, Marc Jacobs won the 37th edition of the Fragrance Foundation FiFi Award, receiving the Hall of Fame Award.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs 37th Fifi Award
37th Fifi Award

Collaborations & Events

In 2010 there were many collaborations and events, like the installation of the ballet shoes worn by the ballerinas of the Opéra Garnier, designed for the opening of the shop at the Palais Royal. 2010 was also the year of the advertising campaign of the first men fragrance, Bang. The ad portrayed the designer himself completely naked on silver bedsheets, covered by a huge bottle of perfume only.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs Fragrance Bang
The Fragrance Bang

Also in the same year, Marc Jacobs opened a chain of bookstores in New York and in Los Angeles, called Bookmarc. A book dedicated to his creative entourage is published with the title of “The Men + Women Of Marc Jacobs”, a limited edition volume of 300 pages which illustrates the world and life of the designer through the lens of the photographer Brian Bowen Smith.

In 2012, Bookmarc also lands in Europe, with two stores in London and Paris. One year later, Marc Jacobs starts supporting the fight against cancer creating a limited edition of shopping bags with the slogan “Fight Like A Girl”. The entire revenues of the initiative were devoluted to the Action Breast Cancer and Europa Donna Ireland associations.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs Bookmarc
The Bookmarc Store

Resigns from Louis Vuitton

In October 2013, Marc Jacobs resigned from his role of creative director of Louis Vuitton, which he reigned since 1997, in order to focus on his own lines.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs Last Louis Vuitton Show
The Designer’s Last Louis Vuitton Show

In 2014, Marc Jacobs to find the face of his autumn/winter 2014 campaign of his second line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, used Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CastMeMarc, created specifically by Jacobs’s team.

In March 2015, Marc Jacobs announced the end of his secondary brand Marc by Marc Jacobs in order to focus on the development of his main label Marc Jacobs and to target a more luxury oriented audience.

Current Situation

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Marc Jacobs 2017 Fall / Winter Runway
2017 Fall / Winter Runway

In September 2016, the designer presented the collection spring-summer 2017 with a modern punk style inspired by the rave design of the 80’s and by people like Boy George and Marilyn Manson. In the collection fall winter 2017 he made the New York 67th Street Armory a runway where the models walk across two long lines of folding chairs without any kind of music.