Raf Simons x Calvin Klein: An Unlikely Partnership?
Calvin Klein, the brand, is absolutely an American icon. Raf Simons is from Belgium. It was quite historic when the designer announced he had been appointed to the role of Creative Director of the brand, and it came as a shock to many, but since collections and campaigns have surfaced, the idea has largely been accepted. The new logo change was also a surprise, but again, not as controversial as the Yves Saint Laurent re-brand to Saint Laurent under Hedi Slimane back in 2015.
As we saw from the first runway show at New York Fashion Week, the collections remain very much American, in many ways returning to the bittersweet success of a 1980’s Calvin Klein. The first campaign for CK under Raf Simons was released in February 2017 and featured models of various colours and identities photographed in front of the artworks of iconic artists including Andy Warhol, Sterling Ruby and Dan Flavin. Simons’ chose signature CK pieces to showcase, including denim, cotton tees and white briefs.
This month, the Calvin Klein Jeans SS17 campaign was released and also photographed by long-time Simons’ collaborator Willy Vanderperre and styled by Olivier Rizzo. This team has helped take the vision from the drawing board to the billboard. This also took us back to an earlier Calvin Klein, featuring some pretty timeless portraits and denim staples and has been widely welcomed by the fashion community.
And also this month, CK released their Calvin Klein SS17 Underwear campaign which features the all-black cast of Moonlight, including Ashton Sanders, Mahershala Ali, Trevante Rhodes and child-actor Alex Hibbert, re-affirming the brands’ commitment to campaign diversity. Clearly, quality casting has played a pivotal role in the Raf Simons x Calvin Klein partnership and it will be interesting to see what comes next from the designer and the global powerhouse that is CK. So far so good as they say…
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