I've always had a clear design philosophy and point of view about being modern, sophisticated, sexy, clean and minimal. They all apply to my design esthetic. -- Calvin Klein in Women's Wear Daily.
Calvin Klein's unwavering vision of minimal designs and wearable urban styles are part of what make him an icon: his widely recognized marketing genius is also part of the package.
Back in the late '70s Klein launched a designer jeans line, which not only broke down price barriers by offering a lower-priced line, but spawned sexy ads featuring teenage model Brooke Shields which were just the first in a line of controversial ads.
He's also influenced many of the minimal-chic designers of the late 20th century, including Miuccia Prada and Donna Karan, and remains one of the most recognizable designer names in the world.
CFDA Designer of the year 1993 for best womenswear and menswear
Known for: Minimal, sophisticated designs; marketing genius.
DOB: November 19, 1942
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Started in the business: 1968
Education: Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
What you might not know about him
- Calvin Klein started out as a coat company, and moved to sportswear.
- He's left his mark with some industry firsts, including making utilitarian men's underwear sexy and the first unisex fragrance, CK One.
- He sold his company in '03 to Phillips Van Heusen, but remains active in design direction.
- The woman he designs for: Urban sophisticate who values wearable fashions over showy styles or logos.
- Notable quotes:"Fashion is about change and, for me, the philosophy is always the same ... that theclothes have to be really modern and make women look really beautiful," --CNN
- "I've never been one to see women in ruffles and all kinds of fanciful apparel. To me it's just silly." -Time.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Helen Hunt, Sandra Bullock
Get the look
- Calvin Klein is all about modern, practical fashion. Here's how to translate the runway looks for yourself:
- Think urban uniform - leather skirt, turtleneck, tights and pumps or boots. Mix and match colors and fabrics, but this is an easy, work-ready look that looks good on everyone.
- Choose long, lean lines in whatever you wear -- from knee-length skirts to narrow, cropped pants worn with boots.
- Add standout pieces in reptile like alligator or crocodile (or leather stamped to make mock crock) -- jackets, pants, skirts. Try boots or bags for smaller doses.
- Skip the jewels -- less is more for Calvin's look.
- Find styles in muted and deep tones like gray, ruby red and black.
- Choose lots of leather; wear a trim jacket in the place of a blazer, not just as outerwear.
- Opt for styles that frame the face through structure, rather than ornamentation -- deep V necklines, turtlenecks, buttoned-to-the-top jackets.
- Try a maxi coat for the perfect dramatic complement to spare styles.
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