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Calvin Klein Bringing Men’s Show Back to New York

Godfrey Deeny
July 29th, 2008 @ 12:02 AM - Paris

In what many will see as a major act of retrenchment, Calvin Klein will stage its next men’s runway show in New York, departing Milan after a decade of staging in the Italian fashion capital.

As a result, Calvin Klein’s Fall 2009 collection will be presented in Manhattan next February during New York’s Fashion Week, three weeks after the Milan men’s shows.

Calvin Klein, Inc.’s owner, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, made the announcement Tuesday in a statement that revealed that the U.S. fashion label will also stage its post-show event in New York, one of the traditional power gatherings of editors during the Milan season.

The New York show will be the first full runway show held in New York by the men’s brand since 1998, when it first started showing in its European headquarters on Milan’s Viale Umbria.

“As this is the year we have brought the Collection business back in house and will celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary, we thought this was an appropriate time to change things up a bit,” said Tom Murry, president and COO of Calvin Klein, Inc. “We see this as a great opportunity to support our U.S. business and retail partners and acknowledge our heritage in New York City.”

Added Italo Zucchelli, creative director of Calvin Klein men’s Collection: “I am very excited to show the men’s Collection in New York. I think this is a very exciting time for menswear here, as there are a lot of new and interesting young designers working in New York now.”

The release insisted that “the brand plans to return to the runway in Milan for future shows,” but without suggesting any possible future date. Thus, some will see the move as significant tactical retreat at a time of economic gloom in major markets for the label and rapidly escalating prices for travel to Europe.

Klein’s men’s show will be staged in the ground floor space at the company’s New York City headquarters, the site of the label’s women’s shows for the past several years.

Phillips-Van Heusen went to considerable lengths to bill the change as a renewed commitment to the New York fashion season and the American market, putting positive quotes by both Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Diane von Furstenberg, the CFDA’s president, into the release.

“To have Calvin Klein Collection return to New York to show their men’s collection reaffirms that American menswear designers are now in the forefront of innovation and are redefining the way men dress,” intoned Kolb.

“It is a bold move, and an exciting one for New York,” added von Furstenberg.

But folks back in Europe will more likely see cost cutting and crimped market conditions as the real driving force behind this decision. For when it comes to international business, Milan is the uncontested major international season for men’s fashion retailers.

The New York-based label will hold market appointments in Milan in January during men’s fashion week, “as the brand realizes the importance of having a presence in the Milanese market in order to meet with our international retail buyers and editors,” the release stated.

Calvin Klein men’s signature Collection currently sells in such retailers as Galeries Lafayette, Harvey Nichols, El Corte Ingles, La Rinascente, Peek & Cloppenburg, TSUM, Mitsukoshi and Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S.

Phillips-Van Heusen is a major leaguer apparel company which owns the world's largest shirt and neckwear company, Van Heusen, along with Izard, Arrow, Bass and G.H. Bass & Co., as well as manufacturing under license brands such as Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole, BCBG Max Aria, Michael Kors, Sean John, Chaps, Donald J.Trump, Joseph Abboud, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis Portfolio, DKNY and, beginning in Fall 2008, Timberland.

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