Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Sales Up as PVH Brands Continue to Engage Hollywood

Booth Moore
A Brooke Shields label on jeans on the fall 2017 Calvin Klein runway.

The apparel giant's latest earnings report shows the growing strength of the powerhouse labels helmed by Tommy Hilfiger and Raf Simons.

One of the world’s largest apparel companies, PVH Corp.’s fortunes are continuing to rise, boosted by the success of powerhouse brands Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, according to fourth-quarter and full-year results out today. 

On its website, PVH notes that fourth quarter revenue is up 19 percent and total 2017 revenue ($8.9 billion) is up 9 percent, compared to 2016. In the fourth quarter, Calvin Klein business increased 23 percent to $977 million compared to last year, while Tommy Hilfiger business increased 22 percent to $1.1 billion during the same period. During 2017, Calvin Klein was up 10 percent and Tommy Hilfiger was up 11 percent compared to 2016. The company expects 2018 revenue to increase by another 7 percent, compared to 2017.

PVH chairman and CEO Emanuel Chirico noted that the numbers “exceeded our expectations," saying: “These results are ahead of our long-term targets, driven largely by strong momentum in our Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein businesses. We believe that the incredible brand power behind Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger positions us well in the marketplace against our competition and will drive continued momentum, as reflected in our 2018 outlook.”

Both Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger have reinvented their classic brands in recent years through spectacular runway shows and strong celebrity collaborations.

Since Belgian designer Raf Simons took the reins as chief creative officer at Calvin Klein in late 2016 and infused the label with his own unique take on Americana, he has engaged both high-brow and mass Hollywood, dressing the entire cast of Moonlight for the 2017 Oscars red carpet and the Kardashian-Jenners for the 2018 Calvin Klein Jeans campaign. He played on brand nostalgia for fall 2017 by reusing the iconic 1980 Calvin Klein Brooke Shields ad on the back label of jeans, and collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation on pop art for his designs, including T-shirts and expensive runway looks.

The fall 2018 women’s line, shown last month at New York Fashion Week, boasted a blockbuster front row that included Nicole Kidman, Lupita Nyong’o, Laura Dern, Michael B. Jordan, Millie Booby Brown and Margot Robbie — all wading in a sea of popcorn that had been pumped into the space. Last month, Paris Jackson and Millie Bobby Brown were named as the stars of the latest Calvin Klein Jeans “Our Family” campaign.

Red carpets have also been replete with Simons' designs. Saoirse Ronan chose a strapless pink Calvin Klein By Appointment gown trimmed in the back with an oversized bow for the Oscars, while just Monday, Ready Player One star Olivia Cooke stepped out in a red nylon dress with crystal-embellished straps from the spring 2018 Calvin Klein 205W39NYC collection for the L.A. premiere of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film. Even "It" guy Harry Styles rocked a Calvin Klein suit onstage last week. 

Similarly anchored in a new spin on Americana style (signature red, white and blue with logos aplenty), Tommy Hilfiger’s business has been on the rise since the 2016 launch of the Tommy x Gigi collab with supermodel and reality TV royalty Gigi Hadid, together with a new see-now, buy-now business shift that has runway styles available immediately following the shows. 

For his fall 2018 show in Milan last month, Hilfiger presented his final motocross-themed Tommy x Gigi collab line (the contract has come to an end) on a runway track set up inside City Center, a tie-in to the brand’s announcement of a new multi-year sponsorship deal as the official apparel partner for Formula One‘s Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team. Showgoers could partake in simulated drive experiences and, of course, there were selfie props galore. Earlier this month, Hilfiger named British Formula One racing champ Lewis Hamilton as global menswear ambassador for the brand; he stars in the spring 2018 ad campaign. The jury is out on who will be next.