April 26, 2017
Say so long to CK—sort of.
It's been nearly six months since it was first announced that designer Raf Simons was taking over the American brand Calvin Klein, and we're finally starting to see hints of what's to come. His first show for the label is one of New York Fashion Week's hottest tickets (live-streaming February 10 at 10 A.M.), but Simons gave a sneak peek at the new CK by dropping the first ad campaign executed under his creative supervision. Calvin is brand that made its mark with sexy advertising campaigns that pushed the envelope (and the limits of censors), but Simons is going with a more erudite approach to show off his wares.
In a series of eight images, shot by longtime Simons collaborator Willy Vanderperre, art takes precedence over clothing, with models wearing simple yet iconic Calvin Klein pieces—jeans, white T-shirts, briefs—while large-scale artworks by iconic American artists loom in the background. Simons is a well-known art lover, so it makes sense that he'd frame his models with pieces by Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, and Andy Warhol. It certainly sets a different tone than, say, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner brooding in CK briefs. That said, there's enough exposed skin that any casual shopper will identify as ur-Calvin.
Same goes for that new logo you might have noticed, a nod to previous iterations in the house's history, but modernized and Raf-approved thanks to art director and graphic designer Peter Saville (the mastermind behind the iconic album artwork of groups like New Order and Joy Division).
"The city is always inspiring," Simons said earlier this year of his move to New York. "But I think when you are here all the time, it is inspiring in a different way, obviously. I can be very honest about it: Both collections are going to relate very much to how I experience it. How I see it. How I have always seen it. And how I might want to see it. It relates to myself and my roots and Europe. Both collections, in a very different way—maybe one more America, the other one Europe.
We've already seen his collection for his own label, and it was an amazing love letter to the city. Now it's time to see what he has in store for one of American fashion's biggest names. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.