the designers

Calvin Klein is one of America's classic designers, who make Jeans, shirts, a wide range of garments and many other related products in a very typical American style.

He was born on 19th November, 1942, in a poor district of New York. Even as a child of 5 years old, he loved to join his grandmother on her sewing machine. All his sister's friends asked him to make clothes for their dolls. All through his childhood years, he was sketching garments as a hobby.

He studied at the High School of Art, and subsequently joined the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. He graduated in 1963 when he was 21 years old. While he was studying, he worked as a copy boy at Womens Wear Daily, the fashion newspaper. He did want a job as an illustrator, but could not get it.

After graduating, his first real job was at Dan Millstein, in New York as Assistant designer. Millstein was a mean-tempered tyrant, but Calvin stayed there because he got the chance to go with him to Paris, to copy designs, and he was able to see the French fashion scene.

In Spring of 1964, Calvin married Jayne, his childhood sweetheart and they had a daughter Marci.

In 1965, he left Millstein and joined Halldon Ltd., another prestigious coat maker but alongside he was designing his own garments. His first mention in the press came when in 1967 a trade magazine admired his work.

In 1967, he and his friend Barry Schwartz, borrowed money from their friends and formed their own company. His first order was in 1968 when Bonwit Teller, the famous store on 5th Avenue in New York, ordered $ 50,000 worth of garments. They put one Calvin Klein design in each of their eight windows. This was an amazing thing for a new designer and overnight he became a success. He gradually became more and more successful with his beautifully stitched and designed clothes.

In the early 70's Calvin Klein realized the importance of elegant day wear separates and mix-and-match garments, what the Americans call "sportswear". He gained recognition for his turtleneck sweaters And slacks. With these relaxed and easy clothes, he made his name.

He won Coty Awards, the American fashion oscar, In 1973 and 1974. In 1973 he was divorced from his wife Jayne.

Calvin Klein became one of America's most popular designers. He adjusted his style to a slightly more romantic one and stayed closer to the body, perfect for young American society women.

He made $ 90 million in 1977. 1978 was a very busy year for Calvin. He introduced his menswear line, his designer jeans and his first perfume "Calvin Klein". The following year 1979, he introduced Calvin Klein for Men, Jeans for Men, and also appeared on the cover of the May edition of NEWSWEEK magazine.

In 1979 his daughter was kidnapped for ransom and he played a heroic role in rescuing her safely. This gained a lot of media attention.

In 1980 his designer jeans were widely copied yet managed to remain one of the most respected brands. His advertisement where Brooke Shields said "nothing comes between me and my Calvin Klein Jeans", made him famous. It drew quite a lot of attention.

During the 80's Calvin lived a life of great excess, with wild parties at the disco STUDIO 54 using a lot of drugs and alcohol. In 1982, he made the cover of PEOPLE magazine, with Brooke Shields sitting on his shoulders. He also brought out his underwear line in 1982, made famous by singing artist Marky Mark.

1986, he married Kelly Rector, a designer who had been working for him for three years.

In 1993 Calvin Klein was awarded the CFDA award for best Collection of the year.

Calvin Klein still presents amazing collections every year, even the transparent look of the 90's.

In 2000, Calvin Klein has launched his new cosmetics and skin-care line "COLOR" his first new cosmetic products for two decades.

In the year 2000, the city of New York decided to honour American fashion designers by placing bronze plaques along 7th Avenue, the great street of fashion in New York. This has been called the "FASHION WALK OF FAME." Calvin Klein was one of those honoured, and here is a picture of his plaque.

In 2002 Calvin was divorced from his wife Kelly, although they still meet regularly and have an amicable relationship.

In late 2002, Calvin Klein sold his house for $ 400 million to Phillips Van Heusen. He will continue to consult for them for 9 years at a salary of $ 1 million a year, but all the financial and expansion decisions will be made by them. Calvin Klein Inc. has extensive interests in Europe, including Italy, where there is an elegant Milan showspace set up in 1998. PVH is looking into the profitability of all these ventures.

The Look

Calvin Klein has been presenting collections for 30 years. He is a most devout modernist, a believer in form-follows-function thinking. Each season his models walk down the catwalk in clothes created as a quiet protest against fashion's outlandish theatricality. He has never dabbled in beaded headgear, animal headdresses, rubber cocktail dresses. So no matter what Gaultier or Galliano are showing, he keeps his palette defiantly muted, his lines aggressively clean, and his style grounded in reality. Calvin Klein's aim, as he himself said, "I want to combine the refinement and elegance of the couture tradition with my belief that clothes should be realistic and wearable." His aim is understated sophistication using luxurious fabrics like silk, suede and cashmere. He uses no fussy detail and uses sober colours that appeal to both men and women. He often takes elements of a man's wardrobe and tailors them for women.

Who Wears It

Owen Wilson, Ashton Kutcher, Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Connolly , Jennifer Aniston, Naomi Watts and Katie Holmes. Oscar-winner Hilary Swank has a close relationship with both Klein and Costa, and has recently modeled for Calvin Klein underwear.


1978 Calvin Klein
1979 Calvin Klein for Men
1981 Calvin
1985 Obsession
1986 Obsession for Men
1988 Eternity
1989 Eternity for Men
1991 Escape
1993 Escape for Men
1995 CK One
1997 CK BE
1998 Contradiction (W)
1999 Contradiction (M)
2000 Truth (W)
2000 Truth (M)
2002 Eternity Rose Blush (W)
2002 Truth Blush (W)
2002 Sheer Obsession (W)
2002 Crave (M)
2003 Eternity Purple Orchid (W)
2004 Eternity Love (W)
2004 Eternity Moment (W)
2004 Eternity Summer (M)
2004 Eternity Summer (W)
2004 CK One Summer (W)
2005 CK Summer (W)
2005 Obsession Night (W)
2005 Obsession Night (M)
2005 Euphoria (W)
2006 Euphoria (M)
2007 Euphoria Blossom (W)
2007 CK IN 2 u (m) and (W)
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