Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein

Costume Designer of 'Players' (1979)

Background:

“I’ve never been one to see women in ruffles and all kinds of fanciful apparel.
To me, it’s just silly.” Calvin Klein

Beginning his international fashion-designing career at the Calvin Klein Ltd.
shop in a New York hotel, American designer Calvin Klein is now a fashion name
that burgeons with such well-known brands as Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin
Klein, CK, and Calvin Klein Jeans. Klein, who is also known for his ‘Calvins’
boxer line and his unisex fragrance cK One, reaped three Coty Awards and eight
Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, as well as became the 1993
Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Best Designer. Yet, with the
ever-increasing problems in his business, the designer known for his minimalist
style had to face the company’s acquisition by Phillips Van Heusen Corp.

As for his private life, Klein is the father of Marci Klein, a daughter from his
marriage with Jayne Centre. He was also once married to Kelly Rector, but is
currently single.


The Protégé

Childhood and Family:

Born on November 19, 1942, in Bronx, New York, Calvin Richard Klein is the son
of middle class Jewish Hungarian immigrants. He enjoyed sketching women in suits
and dresses when he was a teen and attended the High School of Industrial Art.
He continued his education at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where
he graduated at age 20. In 1962, he became an apprentice to a cloak-and-suit
manufacturer before eventually making an entrance in the New York elite fashion
scene by becoming a protégé of Baron de Gunzburg.

In 1964, Calvin married his fellow Fashion Institute student Jayne Centre, but
the couple divorced in 1974. They share a daughter named Marci Klein. He then
tied the knot with socialite Kelly Rector on September 26, 1986, but they
separated in April 2006.


The Calvins

Career:

In 1968, Calvin Klein teamed up with his childhood friend Barry Schwartz to set
up a coat shop called Calvin Klein Ltd. on a floor of the York Hotel in New York
City. After showing his design to staff of the Bonwit Teller shop, Klein had his
first collection, which comprised of a line of men’s and women’s coats and
sportswear.

Rapidly progressing, he was featured regularly in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar by
1969 and introduced his trademark jeans in the early 70s, which were
tight-fitting jeans with his name branded on the back pocket. He also added his
women’s collection of sportswear, classic blazers and lingerie in 1971.

A magnet of the American fashion industry, Klein was awarded the Coty three
years in a row. By 1981, the company had licenses for scarves, shoes, belts,
furs, sunglasses, sheets, cosmetics, jeans and menswear, and received
8.5-million dollars annually. He also scrutinized the perfume line and released
a series of popular fragrances like Obsession, Eternity, Escape, and
Contradiction.

Klein, who often used his models’ sexuality as the recurring theme of company
ads, achieved even greater success with his line of boxer shorts for women and
men. In the early 80s, his clothes were sold in 12,000 stores in the United
States, as well as six other countries. Aside from the $12,000,000 yearly
income, in 1982, Klein also became the first designer to receive two Council of
Fashion Designers of America awards in a year, one for Outstanding Design in
Womenswear and one for Outstanding Design in Menswear. Since then, he has
collected six other Council of Fashion Designers of America awards.

In 1993, Klein was named America’s Best Designer by the Council of Fashion
Designers of America. He also became the designer of choice for super-star
celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Helen Hunt.
With provoking advertisements, Klein also introduced the first line of unisex
fragrances.

However, by then, the company was near bankruptcy for various reasons, like
financial problems, disappointing sales and employee turnover, among others.
After failing to sell the company to container manufacturer Triangle Industries
in 1987, the Calvin Klein Inc. executives announced its sale in 1999. Three
years later, the company was eventually sold to shirt maker Phillips Van Heusen
Corp., with the deal for $400 million in cash, $30 million in stock, licensing
rights and royalties linked to revenues over the next 15 years, as well as an
ongoing personal financial incentive for Klein himself for the brand sales. The
company then became an owned subsidiary of Phillips Van Heusen.

Klein, who is praised for his minimalist design, gradually withdrew from the
business, whereas partner Barry Schwartz reportedly concentrated on his role as
the chairman of the New York Racing Association.


Awards:

Council of Fashion Designers of America: America’s Best Designer, 1993
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in Menswear,
1993
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in
Womenswear, 1993
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in Menswear,
1986
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in
Womenswear, 1986
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in Menswear,
1983
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in
Womenswear, 1983
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in Menswear,
1982
Council of Fashion Designers of America: Outstanding Design in
Womenswear, 1982
Coty, 1975
Coty, 1974
Coty, 1973
I'm not a drug addict. My wild period wasn't about drugs; it was about sexual freedom.More Calvin Klein quotes [08/05/2011 12:08:42]
We're not doing outrageous fashion; I make sports clothes that are relatively conservative, clothes that everyone wears.More Calvin Klein quotes [08/05/2011 12:08:34]
I don't trust a lot of journalists.More Calvin Klein quotes [08/05/2011 11:08:28]
There has been a change in men's attitudes toward their clothes. Men are more aware of fashion; they're not afraid of it.More Calvin Klein quotes [08/05/2011 12:08:14]
I still drink vodka; I'm not an advocate of drinking, but I'm no angel. I don't like grass, because it just makes me hungry.More Calvin Klein quotes [08/05/2011 12:08:33]

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