There was a certain energy in the air yesterday, the fashion industry anxiously awaiting the great reveal. Raf Simon’s first runway collection for Calvin Klein. Hopes were pegged, and perhaps a few envious shrugs as well on the weight of this collection and its impact on the American fashion industry as a whole.
Ultimately Calvin Klein is an institution, established in 1968 it is fashion industry royalty, aristocracy even. Just like there are the Rothschild’s and Rockafeller’s of NY there are the Calvin Klein’s and Ralph Lauren’s. Ultimately Americans are traditional that way, and just like these brands are revered they also need to hold themselves to some sort of standards. You will not find torn, ill-fitting, gangster clothing at Calvin Klein, it is just not done.
Ironically, Calvin Klein when established was not ‘establishment’ at all, quite the contrary. Promoting sexual freedom and introducing a more austere, modern elegance Calvin certainly rocked the fashion boat back then. A good example of this are the original racy Calvin Klein ads that till this day drip with sensuality. And just incase you forgot, Brooke (You-wanna-know-what-comes-between-me-and-my-Clavin’s?-Nothing) Shields was sitting front row.
With that in mind Raf Simons went about creating a collection for Calvin Klein that respected their past yet carried enough creativity and modernity to compete with all the ripped clothes and ill-fitting gangster collections that are all the rage. The solution was a color-blocked, unisex fashion show, tailoring heavy on a multi-racial cast of models. His creativity was in his ability to balance the realism of the collection with the an underlying sensuality that was palpable but not crass.
Every collection needs a talking point, a creative feat that will either sink or swim with the industry. Raf Simons opted for plastic, covering some pieces with a veil of stiff clear plastic. This plastic gave the collection a rainy day, sci-fi edge that the fashion world is still on the fence about. Will this trend catch on ? Time will tell…