Tag Archives: Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein, 1991

Calvin91a  Calvin91b


“Calvin Klein has put a new spin on minimalism. Everything that could possibly be distracting is pared away. Makeup is natural. So are the coiffures. So are the clothes.

‘I feel so good about the collection,’ the designer said yesterday after his spring show. ‘I feel it’s for the modern woman. It’s all about softness.’

It is also about restraint. Those who feel clothes have to be elaborately decorated and vividly colored will not find much here to admire. This is probably the coolest, most understated collection of the season.

Since it is for warm weather, the coolness is not inappropriate.

Consider the colors: parchment, platinum, celadon and, of course, white. In this company, aqua stands out as a vivid hue.

Consider the shapes: a gently cut dress, with a high round neckline, camisole straps or no straps at all, is the key to everything.

The fabrics are equally self-effacing: washed silk, silk or wool crepe, linen and cashmere.

The clothes are the kind that show off a great figure and make one not so great look better than it is. The models skim along on flat beige T-strap shoes, looking totally at ease.

While those shapely dresses are the main event, they receive support from softly tailored jackets (often the same mid-thigh length as the dresses they accompany), skinny pants and shorts. Wrapped effects maintain the soft treatment in blouses.

There are just a few variations to the dominant look: a trench coat or two to cover everything up; a shot of navy as a change from all the pale tones; some all-over beads.

But the collection has a cohesion and a directness that is rarely achieved. All the ideas have passed through the designer’s sensibility, and he has worked over them until he got them just right. If it’s flash you’re looking for, this may not be the right stop. But if it’s elegance and style, it’s a real treat.”



Written by Doon Arbus, directed by Avedon, styled by Julie Britt*, and cast with a Shakespearean theater company, the television ads for Calvin Klein’s blowout fragrance of the ’80s continued the brand’s reputation for provocative and stylistically innovative marketing. Though less scandalous than the Calvin Klein Jeans spots shot with Brooke Shields, also directed by Avedon and written by Arbus, they are just as effective in defining a mood and spirit essential to the Calvin brand. Model and face of the house throughout the ’80s Josie Borain is cast as the object of obsession, an apparition that lingers between the senses and just as she is within one’s grasp she is gone, a fleeting moment, an inescapable desire. It’s a dramatic pretense for a scent that is, as most critics seem to agree, wearable but far from notable. Regardless, the scent proved to be a bestseller (and I believe still is) and validated the wayward concept used for these commercials which, regardless of how the scent actually smells, are simply amazing.

*A previous version of this post had incorrectly credited Paul Cavaco as stylist. Many thanks to Simone Colina.

Calvin Klein, 1985 pt 2






Calvin Klein, 1989




Calvin Klein, 1986

Morocco, 1989

Kelly Klein, Fran Lebowitz, Calvin Klein and other guests of Malcolm Forbes’ 70th birthday celebration.

Calvin Klein, 1984

A comfy Calvin Klein channels Georgia O’Keeffe for his 1984 campaign, photographed by Bruce Weber.

Calvin Klein, 1989

“It is a collection in which neatness counts. The clothes are in the American tradition of glorious sportswear, updated by the use of precious materials. There are strong men’s-wear accents in the double-breasted jackets in pewter gray plaids and checks, and in the lean trousers that overshadow the knee-baring skirts. Occasionally there is a hint of mauve or green in the tweed jackets, sweaters or trousers. Softening agents are the drifts of knitted cashmere, in triangular shapes or in long stoles to wrap around the body. Some knitted styles tie at one side of the waistline for a new sweater shape.”


Kelly Style

Much can be said about their curious arrangement, but tired gossip aside, more interesting was her impeccable style. If there ever was a woman who embodied contemporary American ease and good taste it is Kelly Klein: healthy, natural hair, a charming appropriation of menswear, the clean minimalism for which her estranged husband was known for—tinged with a touch WASPy affectation—betraying her origins in Lauren’s domain.

all images from LIFE magazine.


Calvin Klein Jeans 1981 Men’s campaign by Bruce Weber

The American poster boy for minimalism, Klein presciently understood the power of sexual tension and a violated innocence — reoccurring themes that would become hallmarks of his future campaigns and revolutionize fashion marketing.

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