Christy Turlington for Calvin Klein, SS 1989.
Fall/Winter 2017 will be the season of Calvin Klein. The brand enjoyed a boost in revenue following millennial targeted marketing campaigns in which they had celebrities like Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner front underwear campaigns. The hundreds of thousands of times #mycalvins has been hashtagged suggests the brand has furthered their street cred and now they’re furthering their design creditability by snagging high-fashion maverick Raf Simons to oversee all their lines.
There are over 25 product categories according to The Guardian and the Belgian designer is tasked with unifying all Calvin Klein brands under one creative vision. This is history in the making, as Simons is the first designer since Klein himself to oversee all lines of the eponymous label and it is also Simons’ first foray into American Fashion. As Vogue points out, Calvin Klein has always put masculine sexuality at the forefront of their campaigns, something quite unique to their aesthetic. From their Mark Walberg campaign to the much buzzed about Justin Bieber campaign to their racy stripped down controversial campaigns with Brooke Shields and Kate Moss, there’s a masculine energy to Calvin Klein that Simons also gravitates towards.
Simons has demonstrated he can do high-fashion, high-volume glamour during his three year stint at Dior and understated elegance at Jill Sander, so it will be interesting to see what the designer draws from to realize his vision for the easy American glamour of Calvin Klein.
Simons will show his first collection for CK this September in New York. As I take a look back at Calvin Klein through the years, I find myself hoping Simons will bring the elegance and glamour and maybe even some of the edge of past CK designs back to their collections. See below, Jerry Hall in the most glamorous silk evening pajama suit in the 1970s and Gia Carangi in a sultry slip dress to pinpoint just what’s missing from the current aesthetic. There was something in the details of Klein’s slip dresses from previous decades, impeccable cuts, sex appeal and provocative campaign concepts lacking in recent years as the minimal aesthetic overpowered the flattering, sexy glamour of their classic slip dress and iconic separates. Scrolling through CK’s designs of the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s demonstrates the undeniable romanticism that makes one long for fall and Simons’ reinvention of Calvin Klein staple pieces.
(L) Calvin Klein Fall/Winter runway show, 1973. (R) Jerry Hall in an evening look by Calvin Klein, 1975.
Calvin Klein ensemble, Vogue US, September 1972.
(L) Gia Carangi in Calvin Klein, Harper's Bazaar, June 1978. (R) Janice Dickinson and Calvin Klein in Vogue Paris, 1977.
(L) Lauren Hutton in Calvin Klein shot by Richard Avedon, 1970s. (R) Fashion by Calvin Klein, 1973.
Lauren Hutton in Calvin Klein, photographed by Francesco Scavullo for American Vogue, 1974.
Calvin Klein Campaign, by Irving Penn, 1981.
(L) Andie Macdowell for Calvin Klein Jeans, 1982. (R) Patti Hansen for Calvin Klein Jeans, 1979.
(L) Christy Turlington & Elaine Irwin for Calvin Klein by Bruce Weber, 1989. (R) Christy Turlington for Calvin Klein, 1989.
Amber Valletta & Kate Moss for Calvin Klein, 1990s.
Kate Moss for Calvin Klein, 1997.
Kirsty Hume wearing Calvin Klein dress in Vogue US, November 1996.