Calvin Klein launched his first collection in New York in the 1968, having created a small line of coats and dresses for women. Now this is the worldwide known fashionable brand of kids` footwear among other things.
Calvin Klein was born on the 19th of November, 1942 in New York in the family of an owner of a small grocery store. The district, where Calvin spent childhood, was not the most luxury in the city and this fact only prompted the young man to turn his ambitious into life.
Since early childhood, the boy was fond of drawing and then even learned to sew. And, although he showed interest in family business, he selected the mother and the grandmother as the examples for emulation. The grandmother taught Calvin to sew and the elegant mother shaped his taste, regularly visiting with him her tailors and ready- made clothes shops. Klein asserts himself that already in the age of 5 years he decided to become a fashion designer. Therefore, after leaving the school, he did not have painful thoughts of where to go further.
He graduated from the Higher school of art as one of the best ones, then in the 1960 — 1962, he studied in New York Fashion Institute of Technology. Following the inmost dream, Klein mastered the theory and simultaneously did practical training in the studio, cutting out suits. Then, for six years, Calvin worked in various designers’ workshops, painted portraits of passers-by in streets of New York, created his portfolio.
In the 1968, together with his friend Barry Schwartz, Calvin founded the Calvin Klein firm, Ltd in New York. Calvin made his first collection and set it out on one of the floors of a hotel. There was a boutique one floor up. Once, setting out to work in the morning, the director of the boutique accidentally pushed another button of the elevator. He came out on the floor, where the young designer exhibited his models. Calvin’s clothes impressed the businessman so much that he made an order to the couturier. It was a real victory, the name of Calvin Klein became known and the material independence in creative work appeared.
The designer called the 70s of the ХХth century “just mad days”. Calvin was absorbed in all conceivable vices – an alcoholism, experiments with drugs, erratic private life. However, then the formation and the own make development took place.
Having started activity of his studio with the production of the upper menswear, Klein was gradually transferred to the design of clothes for women. In the 1970s, the designer adapted a classic man suit for women fashion. In the 1970, he represented PeaCoat – a double-breasted short coat with wide lapels. That model became not only a hit of the season, but defined the fashion of the upper womenswear for almost the whole decade.
Clothes from Klein realized the basic principle of American fashion: “The most modest dress can be the top of chic, because the decisive style criterion is not the piece of clothing itself, but how it is sewn”. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the 1973, he was the youngest designer of those ones who got the prestigious prize Coty for “sophisticated and impeccably sewn clothes”.
In the 1974, Klein created the collection of accessories and fur clothes.
In the 1978, Calvin Klein was the first in the world who created designer jeans. From inexpensive and day-to-day clothes, he changed it to a category of clothes for fashionable, stylish, liberated and sexy youth. Superior cutout ideally clung around figure; and the length and slenderness of legs were perfectly emphasized. The logos of the fashion designer Calvin Klein and Omega were placed on the hip pocket.
He conceived advertising of his jeans as desirably-provocative. In the 1980, the advertising poster of jeans from Calvin Klein was created together with the photographer Bruce Weber. Calvin Klein depicted a teenage girl Brooke Shields, a future movie star and a sex symbol, attractively smilingly from advertising photos. And there was a text below: “Do you know: there is nothing between me and my jeans?” A sensational scandal broke out in America, the designer was accused of use of minors and “shootings close to the pornography”. The conflict was removed, the jeans were discontinued and only in the 1998, the firm again returned to the model that had already become classical.
In the 1982, Klein developed the collection of men’s underwear. The famous rapper M. Mark and the supermodel D. West were shot in advertisements calling to wear underwear with a wide elastic band and the inscription Calvin Klein. For the first time, the designer introduced men’s half-naked body as an aesthetic element into advertising. And though the majority of his models were accused of excessive sexuality, Klein says that he “designs the underwear for the people to look sexy”.
In the 1980s, the couturier was concentrated on the production of underwear and jeans. And the scandals so often accompanying his advertising became a part of the image created by the designer. His poster “Last supper from Klein” with the known Bible plot, but with half-naked models of both sexes wearing jeans, shocked the puritanical society. The Church made a claim for one million dollars to the designer. He had to pay it.
Klein memorized the recipe for his success and in the 1992, he shocked puritanical America again. That year was considered the birth date of the popular youth “unisex” style. Just then, Klein produced an advertising poster with the young model Keith Moss and rapper Markey Mark. In new posters, two peas in a pod, slender, having the same hair styles, they were sitting half-naked. The model in an image of a “regular girl” with natural beauty, “close to a consumer”, and the musician resembled each other not only in the hairstyle, the face and the figure, but also in their clothes. Teenagers of any sex could wear new clothes from the scandalous designer with an identical success. The idea was taken. Young people demonstrated addiction to the new style.
In the 1999, the couturier again provoked scandal by his advertising. Klein demonstrated a new line. It was the underwear for children and teenagers. The provocative photos with children were declared frivolous. To avoid more abrupt accusations, the advertising campaign was suspended and the designer publicly offered his apologies.
Meanwhile, Klein’s company developed violently, from the small studio he built an empire with sales of about 5 billion dollars per year. The skillful marketing policy clearly created an advertising image and stable associations deeply penetrated into buyers` consciousness. The scandals and the conflicts helped to create an original image of the brand, which became a symbol of youth, sexuality and relaxedness. Especially, because the designer became the first who dressed his clients “completely” — starting with the underwear and ending with fashionable accessories.
Having rooted in the USA and Europe, the firm actively advanced to the east in the 1990s , opening its stores in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuwait City.
An immediate reaction to trend change in the world fashion is one of the components of Klein’s success. On the eve of the XXIst century, the brand became the first in the development of the “military style”. The designer produced trousers with knee guards, coats as trench coats, khaki knee length skirts.
Besides clothes, Calvin Klein created a number of perfumes, each of which has a double – male and female aroma. The perfumes delicately accentuate the style of clothes from Klein.
Despite its scandalous prominence, it is difficult to overestimate the contribution by Calvin Klein to the development of the world fashion. And his couturier colleagues note this fact. Thrice the brand became the recipient of the Coty prize (1973, 1974, 1975). Four times it was awarded the national award of United States in the field of fashion – American Fashion Awards.
The most known brands in the portfolio of Calvin Klein are the following:
These lines include jeans, kids` clothes, underwear, briefs, bathing suits, different variants of clothes for home, sleeping clothes, shoes, socks, watches, perfumery, spectacles and other accessories.
The designer brand Calvin Klein, the history of which began long ago, still remains one of the leaders of fashion industry. And, if originally it was the small studio specialized on clothes for men, the modern brand significantly expanded limits of its production. Stylish womenswear, children’s trends convenient and sensible, the underwear, and perfumery – the assortment of the Calvin Klein production in any category delights with an excellent quality and wonderful taste. All the collections from the designer intended for little fops are distinguished by the comfortable and fashionable cutout and by a rich color palette. These are clothes, which children themselves, as well as their parents like. Welcome to the stylish shopping with this legendary make!