Raf Simons Becomes First Designer Since Calvin Klein to Win Both Womenswear and Menswear at CFDA Awards

Raf Simons - LIFEWATR Winner's Walk CFDA Awards 2017 - Getty - H 2017
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Well deserved.

Calvin Klein chief creative officer Raf Simons took home the gold for both womenswear and menswear designer of the year awards at Monday evening's CFDA Awards, making history as only the second designer to win both categories in the same year. The first person to do so? Calvin Klein himself, who scored both statuettes in 1993. 

Having spent less than a year with the American fashion house, it was a quite an achievement for Belgian designer Simons, who rocked the fashion world with his debut runway collection at New York Fashion Week last September, an homage to America (warts and all) titled "Parade," which had an all-star front row of Calvin Klein By Appointment campaign stars Millie Bobby Brown and Abbey Lee Kershaw, in addition to Naomie Harris, Kate Bosworth, Sofia Coppola, Lauren Hutton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Alexa Chung and noted Raf Simons fan A$AP Rocky, as well as former Calvin Klein poster child Brooke Shields, whose iconic denim ad from 1980 ("Nothing comes between me and my Calvins") was repurposed as a label on the waistband of a denim look.

"I came to America because America is inspiring to me," Simons said during his acceptance speech for the menswear award. While accepting the womenswear honor, he expressed to students, "It's our task to inspire and be an example for all the people, and I think if we as creatives can be an inspiration for how the world should look, we should take it as an important task of our existence."

Since joining Calvin Klein last August, the designer has already dressed Kidman, Moore, Brown, A$AP Rocky and the entire Oscar-winning Moonlight cast in an unusual red-carpet coup on Oscar night in February.

Simons' win at Calvin Klein, along with fellow European Stuart Vevers' win for best accessory designer at Coach, is a boost for two Seventh Avenue stalwart brands trying to chart the future of American fashion in a tough retail environment. 

It's also a celebration of diversity in the fashion industry, which is fueled in no small part by immigrants, legal and otherwise, in a political climate when the U.S. president himself has refused to do so.

In addition to Simons and his predecessor, five other designers have also been honored for both categories but in different years, according to Vogue. Donna Karan won for womenswear in 1990 (and again in 1996) and menswear in 1992; Ralph Lauren won for women's in 1995 and men's in both 1996 and 2007; Michael Kors won for women's in 1999 and men's in 2003; Marc Jacobs won for women's in 1997 (as well as 2010) and men's in 2002; and Tom Ford won for women's in 2001 and for men's in both 2008 and 2015.