Keep It Clean

June 20, 2010 • Magazine

Keep It Clean

Keep It Clean

Mon, 2000-06-19 23:00

Bonnie J Brown

For a fashion designer who has been known to push the limits of appropriateness in his advertising campaigns, Calvin Klein’s clothing is far from what one would call risqué. The clean lines, muted colors, and, sleek, no-fuss garments are what traditionalists require and minimalists crave. So it is quite an anomaly that his staid fashions are projected with such blatant sexuality; but it could be just such a juxtaposition that has brought Calvin Klein his successes.

While Klein was designing a line of coats under his own name back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for the New York department store, Bonwit Teller, his career truly took off when he began designing women’s sportswear. This designer sportswear line eventually included a trim-fitting pair of jeans with the Calvin Klein name and logo strategically placed on the back pocket. This little move along with the advertising genius of having young, 15 year old Brook Shields whisper the words: “nothing comes between me and my Calvins,” instantly shot Calvin Klein into the fashion spotlight and created a designer denim jean craze that is still going strong today. Jeans were just the first garment Klein stitched his name onto; underwear came next with just as titillating advertisements to follow that featured such young, hot models, actors and athletes as Mark Walberg, Kate Moss, Freddie Ljungberg, and most recently Kellan Lutz. But, along with these provocative advertising campaigns, came the ads that featured young teens in what Wikipedia called “sexually evocative poses.” The ads were pulled after President Bill Clinton and a slew of other activists criticized them.

Calvin Klein is easily the most recognizable American fashion house thanks to its CK One perfume, accessories, house wares, and his more affordable sportswear line, although his designer clothing line is still the driving factor behind the CK brand. has dubbed him “fashions’ king of minimalism” and it is Klein’s skill at working with any number of natural fabrics and tailoring them into garments that allow the wearer to look instantly pulled together. Since his lines are often full of separates, the wearers are able to interchange the varying pieces as they go and as the seasons change. Even though these pieces are traditionally button down shirts, delicately pleated, but still slim-fitting skirts, and tailored pants, the brand has been so well developed and maintained that even the most basic garment can make the wearer feel sexy.

1. Calvin Klein Spring Ready to Wear Spring 2010
2. Calvin Klein Fall Ready to Wear 2003
3. Calvin Klein Fall Ready to Wear 2000
4. 1990’s Calvin Klein Ad w/ Mark Walberg & Kate Moss
5. 1970’s Calvin Klein Ad w/ Brook Shields

Image Layout: Laura Funk

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