Who Is Raf Simons? Calvin Klein’s New Creative Director Gets Political Message Across At New York Fashion Week

As Raf Simons made his debut with Calvin Klein at the New York Fashion Week on Friday, the mood was politically charged with the show opening — and closing — with David Bowie’s “This is Not America.”Simons, 49, was out to get a message across and...

Who Is Raf Simons? Calvin Klein’s New Creative Director Gets Political Message Across At New York Fashion Week

As Raf Simons made his debut with Calvin Klein at the New York Fashion Week on Friday, the mood was politically charged with the show opening — and closing — with David Bowie’s “This is Not America.”

Simons, 49, was out to get a message across and it began a day earlier when he sent patterned bandanas to guests who were to attend the show. The gift was accompanied by a note saying: “Unity, inclusion, hope and acceptance: Join us at Calvin Klein in wearing the white bandanna. #tiedtogether.”

Simons started off by graduating in furniture design but took a drastic turn professionally by becoming a self-trained menswear designer in 1995. After a long stint at Jil Sander as creative director, Simons was nominated as the artistic director for Christian Dior in 2012. This was the Belgian designer’s first show with Calvin Klein as creative director. Simons recently relocated to New York and seemed visibly influenced by the political climate of the country.

Raf Simons and Pieter Mulier acknowledge attendees after presenting the Calvin Klein Autumn/Winter 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 10, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

“It reflects the environment,” Simons was quoted as saying in the show notes. “All of these different people with different styles and dress codes. It’s the future, the past, Art Deco, the city, the American West…all of these things and none of these things. Not one era, not one thing, not one look. It is the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself. It is the unique beauty and emotion of America.”

The fashion fraternity turned out in great numbers to show their support. Along with Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomie Harris, Kate Bosworth, Greta Gerwig, Brooke Shields, director Sofia Coppola, and supermodel Lauren Hutton were spotted at the show.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, American Vogue creative director at large Grace Coddington and actress Greta Gerwig attend the Calvin Klein Autumn/Winter 2017 collection presentation during New York Fashion Week in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 10, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Another popular face spotted in the front row was designer Diane von Furstenberg, who was seen sporting a large button that read: “Fashion starts with Planned Parenthood.”

“It's not about politics,” the Associated Press (AP) quoted her as saying. “It’s about women's rights, about the body, and about human rights.”

Last week, at the Men’s Fashion Week, Simons said after his runway show: “If people like me could be of help, by being an inspiration (for young people) by what we say and what we think, then I think I would be very happy and proud. When you have a voice, you should use it,” the AP reported.

Models presents creations from the Calvin Klein Autumn/Winter 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 10, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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