Luella Bartley to head Jeans operation at Calvin Klein
In an intriguing move, Luella Bartley has been named head of global design for Calvin Klein Jeans. With Raf Simons overseeing the complete Calvin Klein creative vision, Bartley will report to his right hand man Pieter Mulier, who is creative director of CKI, as well as to Franck Belochi, president of Calvin Klein Jeans Europe.
Her move means one of fashion’s quintessentially American brands is now directed by a trio of Europeans and a key casualwear label is being overseen by a designer known for feminine-with-an-edge looks when she ran her own label.
Although there is a significant chain of command above her, the Jeans job for Calvin Klein is a key one as denim and casualwear are crucial operations for the $8bn Calvin Klein brand overall. Parent company PVH said late last year that the Jeans unit’s sales have been accelerating globally with wholesale operations in its domestic market improving.
The well-respected Bartley, who helped turn Mulberry from a classic bag brand into a fashion one when she collaborated with it to create the Gisele bag, closed her signature label in 2009 after losing financial backing. She has most recently been creating accessories with Katie Hillier at their Hiller Bartley luxury label, with a design ethos that is a world away from that of Calvin Klein.
But she already has experience of a major American brand. She previously worked with Hillier at the creative helm of Marc by Marc Jacobs where she was womenswear design chief before Jacobs folded the diffusion line into his mainline label.
Despite the existing US connections, she could continue to work mainly from Britain where her partner and three children are based. This would also make sense given her Calvin Klein Jeans Europe responsibilities. The company has not commented on her eventual main location.
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