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Designer of the Week: Calvin Klein

Designer of the Week: Calvin Klein
2010/01/19 Maya H.

A trailblazer and pioneer of sorts, Calvin Klein is a household name when we talk about fashion, eternal style, and top designers of all time.  Let's learn a little bit more....

  • Calvin Klein was born November 19, 1942 in the Bronx, New York and raised in the Mosholu Parkway section which is a middle-class Jewish community
  • Not only did he love fashion as evidenced by his early sketches of women in suits and dresses but he graduated from High School of Art and Design and went to NYCs FIT
  • Klein married FIT classmade, Jayne Centre, in 1964
  • Calvin knew the right people -- Barry Schwartz provided financial backing to launch his clothing company in 1968
  • Watershed moment: A merchandise manager from Bonwit Teller visited his showroom and loved his collection enough to purchase $50K worth of merchandise and displayed it in the coveted windows!!
  • The 1970s saw the introduction of the trademark CK jeans
  • Calvin Klein conquered the underwear market in 1982 with some provocative adds...and models!
  • Very few designers have made such an impact on style as Calvin Klein -- underwear, home decor, clothing, accessories, cosmetics.....he's unstoppable!!
  • He has received much criticism for his ads including denouncement from then President Clinton, the Catholic league and other anti-pornography groups....but he continues and prevails
  • Stick to it -- Calvin Klein faced bankruptcy in 1992 but , Calvin managed to regain profitability by the late 1990s!
  • Accolades include the Coty Award in 1973, 1974 and 1975 making him the youngest designer to win the awards
  • CFDA awards for design of women and menswear in 1982, 1983 and 1986 again making history as the first designer to win both awards
  • He and Jayne divorced in 1974 but not before having a daughter, Marci.  He married again in 1986, Kelly Rector, but they have since divorced
  • Calvin Klein was purchased by Phillips-Van Heusen in 2003
  • Who's running the ship? Francisco Costa is the creative director for women, and Italo Zucchelli took over as head menswear designer in spring 2004
  • Brands: Calvin Klein Collection (black label, top-end designer line); ck Calvin Klein (grey label, bridge collection line); Calvin Klein (white label, better sportswear line); Calvin Klein Sport (sports version of the white label for Macy's)
  • Trademark style: "supreme master of minimalist designs"