What Does Sterling Ruby Have to Do With Calvin Klein?

Changes could be afoot for the classic brand.

Artist Sterling Ruby attends the GiveLove 2nd Annual Art Auction And Fundraiser on September 28, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Artist Sterling Ruby is “best friends” with Raf Simons, the new chief creative officer of Calvin Klein, leading to speculation from Page Six that the Los Angeles art darling is being tapped to help the former Dior designer revitalize the classic brand.

With a bond described as “a true, collaborative brotherhood” by the New York Times, Simons and Ruby teamed up on fall/winter menswear collection in 2014. Simons again drew on the contemporary art world with his sexually charged, Robert Mapplethorpe-inspired spring 2017 collection.

When it comes to his new job, which he took in August, Simons is expected to do big things. Coming from a high-end brand like Dior, Simons will likely look to expand Calvin Klein’s runway collections, long a secondary part of the company business. His first plan of attack, however, may be to redesign the Calvin Klein flagship on Madison Avenue.

Raf Simons. © Patrick McMullan, courtesy of Nicholas Hunt.

Raf Simons. © Patrick McMullan, courtesy of Nicholas Hunt.

Page Six cites an anonymous source who claims Ruby is helping realize Simons’s vision of transforming the store into “vast gallery-like space,” which “would be a huge departure from the sleek look they have now.”

A conflicting source debunked such talk as baseless speculation, saying, “Sterling has been in and out of the building. He and Raf are best friends. Of course they are meeting.”

The two met when Simons visited Ruby’s studio to buy a work of art in 2005, and immediately hit it off.

Whether anything comes of the latest Simons/Ruby rumors remains to be seen, but an art-infused clothing story wouldn’t be unheard of. Earlier this fall, London-based brand Ted Baker unveiled its new Soho store, designed in collaboration with Pop International Galleries, on the Bowery.


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