CALVIN’S TRIPLE THREAT
Byline: Lisa Lockwood
NEW YORK — Calvin has gone Hollywood.
Movieland has practically become fashion’s official image builder, as the scramble to place product attracts virtually every big name, from Levi’s to Reebok to Donna Karan. But perhaps the greatest coup is to land on the back of a hot leading lady.
This season, Calvin Klein is entering the fray by dressing not one, but three heavies in major releases: Nicole Kidman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Klein has wardrobed each of these stars in Calvin Klein Collection and/or CK Calvin Klein in their respective movies: “The Peacemaker,” “The Horse Whisperer,” and “Sliding Doors.”
While it’s too early to tell what impact all this film exposure will have on Klein’s fashion business, high-profile Hollywood connections have been big boosts for some major designers in the past. Cases in point: Ralph Lauren’s “Gatsby” and Giorgio Armani’s transformation of Richard Gere for “American Gigolo.” The latest happy marriage of film and fashion: the “Men in Black” Ray-Ban phenomenon.
Klein’s triple threat comes at a time when he’s aggressively expanding his global presence. And while Klein is surely no marketing slouch, the designer said he’s really in it for kicks.
“It was exciting to work with Gwyneth, Kristin and Nicole. Each is beautiful and has her own sense of style that is young, fun and spontaneous. Clearly, it’s good for our business. It gives us a chance to present our clothes in a way that’s real and true to life,” said Klein.”
Klein reviewed synopses of each film and gave the green light. “We wanted to make sure our design point of view — modern, relaxed, casually elegant — would fit,” he said.
Klein said his firm collaborated closely with the wardrobe people working on each movie.
“We had input and made suggestions. We provided some one-of-a-kind pieces for ‘Sliding Doors’ and ‘The Horse Whisperer,’ and many others came from our existing collections. Also, for ‘The Horse Whisperer,’ we went beyond clothes and even provided some items from our Calvin Klein Home Collection,” said Klein.
In “The Peacemaker,” a Dreamworks SKG release opening Sept. 26, Kidman plays the acting head of a White House agency on nuclear weapons. Kidman co-stars with George Clooney and James Woods in the drama about a terrorist plot to cover up a hijacking of nuclear weapons from the former Soviet arsenal.
Klein wardrobed Kidman’s character exclusively in jackets and skirts from the Collection. In fact, the items were chosen from the Calvin Klein store.
“The reason I chose Calvin Klein is because it was perfect for the character,” Kidman told WWD. “The clothes that they chose were simple, comfortable and had a professional look to them.”
Shelley Komarov, costume designer for “The Peacemaker,” said, “The whole purpose was to keep the looks simple, not pretentious, and real-looking and still have Nicole’s elegance.” She said the character was on a mission to save the world, “so she was not supposed to be thinking about clothes.
“We had to be sure it was not glamorous so she would look like an authentic scientist.” She also noted that Kidman’s character wore mostly suit separates and needed multiples, since “this is an action film.”
In the “The Horse Whisperer,” scheduled for a Dec. 12 release, Klein wardrobes Scott Thomas in her role opposite Robert Redford. Scott Thomas plays a high-powered editor who lives in New York City, when her daughter gets into a horrible horse-riding accident. Her daughter’s best friend is killed and the horse is badly mangled.
Scott Thomas works to restore her daughter’s confidence after the accident. She gives up her job and goes to Montana, where she falls in love with Redford’s Montana cowboy, who is a horse “whisperer” — someone with the mysterious power to calm high-spirited horses.
The Touchstone movie is set in several locations, including a mountain home near where the accident occurs, and New York. The various situations created different wardrobe needs, spanning several of Klein’s product lines — from Calvin Klein Collection to CK Calvin Klein and CK Calvin Klein Jeans. Also appearing in the film are a number of items from the Calvin Klein Home collection.
Finally, Klein has exclusively wardrobed Paltrow for the Miramax feature “Sliding Doors,” scheduled for a March release.
Paltrow portrays two possible futures for her character: one as a high-powered businesswoman, the second as a more low-key woman, who’s a clerk at a deli counter.
“It’s kind of a fate thing and what happens if her life takes a different direction,” said a Klein spokesman.
This duality called for different looks from the Calvin Klein Collection, and the CK Calvin Klein and CK Calvin Klein Jeans lines. In addition, Paltrow wears products from the CK and Collection accessories, underwear, eyewear and footwear collections.
Among the outfits Paltrow wears is a Calvin Klein Collection wrap side-button suit with two-button single-breasted jacket, and leather jackets, classic khakis and sweaters from CK Calvin Klein.
Klein will co-host the premiere party with Miramax for “Sliding Doors” in March.