By  on July 16, 2007

NEW YORK — Calvin Klein Underwear has never looked so good. The brand will celebrate 25 years of strength this week with the unveiling of a powerful new ad campaign for its latest line, Calvin Klein Steel. Featuring Academy Award–nominated actor Djimon Hounsou, the new black-and-white images pay tribute to the original Calvin Klein underwear ads that were shot by Bruce Weber and were responsible for propelling the brand into an iconic American tradition.

“We wanted to reconnect with the amazing past of Calvin Klein Underwear,” said consulting creative director Fabien Baron. “When the ads first came out they created a whole new category and a new sexy way of looking at underwear.”

Capturing that timeless and celebrated sex appeal was photographer Peter Lindbergh, who shot Hounsou in the 100-degree heat of the Palm Springs desert. The first African model to ever be featured in a Calvin Klein Underwear advertisement, Hounsou appears strong and statuesque against a sparkling white background, evoking a sense of classic heroism.

“We wanted an incredible physique to represent the Steel line, because it’s very masculine, and very powerful,” said Baron. “We were definitely looking for a body again and Hounsou stepped into the Calvin Klein character so well.”

The fall 2007 print advertisements make their global debut in Vanity Fair this September, and outdoor billboard spots will appear around New York next month—just in time for Fashion Week. The campaign is scheduled to appear in almost every major glossy, including Men’s Health, Maxim, GQ and Esquire. The company declined to divulge a dollar figure for the campaign, but said it was its biggest ad push in four years.

Steel by Calvin Klein is scheduled to hit department stores July 25 and features a new metallic waistband with a large logo placed front and center. Updated silhouettes come in two new fabrications—an enhanced fine cotton for comfort and an exclusive new microfiber designed to enhance the male form, especially in a new “gripper trunk” style. Crewnecks retail for $27 and bottoms from $16 to $22.

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