Tag Archives: Josie Borain

Calvin Klein, 1991

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“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.”

– BERNADINE MORRIS, 1990

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Obsession

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

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Calvin Klein, 1985

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Calvin Klein, 1986

Ralph Lauren, 1984

Josie Borain for Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 1984

Not since the days of Courr eges and the miniskirt has an idea taken such a firm hold on the fashion world. The idea – for fall and winter – is men’s clothes for women, and it looks like one whose time has come. It emerged full blown in the collection of Calvin Klein early in the week, and subsequent showings have proved how suitable it is for sportswear today.

The only problem is that perhaps there should be more than one concept going. Nothing has yet appeared that is nearly as forceful. Designers have adapted the men’s concept in different ways, with varying success. But it is quite clear that the essential fashion for the cool-weather months is a big coat with broad shoulders, one that resembles a man’s overcoat.

Ralph Lauren has his share of these coats, some of them more slender and graceful than most of the genre. There is a gentle quality to Mr. Lauren’s styles, signaled by the antique diamante pins and the lace edges on the sweaters, another ubiquitous contemporary fashion. Still, his jackets are oversize, his trousers cuffed, like anyone else’s.

– By BERNADINE MORRIS in THE MANNISH LOOK TAKES OVER for the NYT, May 4, 1984