This weekend Calvin Klein Collection will show men’s in New York for the first time since creative director Italo Zucchelli stepped into founder Calvin Klein’s shoes. After 11 shows in Milan, Zucchelli decided the brand’s 40th year called for something special.
“I thought it would be good for me, for New York and for the men’s business to bring this home,” said Zucchelli. “We are reigniting our men’s business in the U.S., and I want to help the men’s scene in New York, which is very interesting right now, with all the new men’s designers. It’s a good moment to be part of it and support it.”
Although the change of venue took Zucchelli out of his comfort zone, he said it didn’t affect the design process. He remained focused on the brand ideals and on balancing commerce with fashion.
“Of course, we’re living in a very peculiar and specific time, a global recession, and I think it’s especially important in a moment like this to really balance the two elements in a supersmart way,” he said. “The fashion is still definitely vital for this business — we don’t have to forget that, but we have to use extra care.”
Zucchelli preserves the heritage of minimalism and American sportswear at Calvin Klein, while bringing his own signatures to bear. He is fond of industrialism, structure, fabric innovation, reinventing the brand icons and putting unexpected materials to novel purpose. For example, the fall collection incorporates material bonded to textured foam, a technique normally used to make bicycle seats.
Calvin Klein Inc. has been shoring up the infrastructure behind Collection since it took the business back in-house in December 2007. Collection, including the women’s line designed by Francisco Costa, is the top tier in Calvin Klein’s pyramid of subbrands, and as the most exclusive label it has a “halo effect” that drives sales through the higher-volume businesses such as better sportswear, denim, fragrance and underwear. Although it is a money-losing operation, Calvin Klein Inc. chief executive officer Tom Murry has said Collection generates editorial coverage equivalent to $150 million worth of ads.
Zucchelli understands his role as a creator of desire. “When I was a student, I would look at things in magazines and think, I want to wear this tomorrow. That’s what I try to create.”
Actually, when Zucchelli was growing up in small-town Italy and attending Polimoda, he was more likely to covet Baroque fashion from the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier than the minimalist fantasy of Calvin Klein. But as his stints at Romeo Gigli and Jil Sander led to work at Calvin Klein, his tastes reversed. Klein chose him for the women’s team before Zucchelli requested a switch to men’s, and two years later, in 2003, he succeeded Klein in the men’s role.
Now he’ll show in the midst of a turbulent economy. But Zucchelli, with trademark serenity honed through years of meditation, takes the seismic shifts in stride.
“Customers are going to be more aware and designers are going to be more challenged, which doesn’t scare me. There have been periods like this in the past. Something good always comes out of it. The last one
I remember, after the Gulf War, that was when minimalism exploded,” he said.
Economic panic aside, Zucchelli just wants to keep making sophisticated clothes that people can relate to their bodies — so much that they desire to wear them. “I want to do something relevant and forward-looking, but most of all I want people to want it,” he said.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)