CALVIN KLEIN EXTOLS CARR’S IMPACT
Byline: Shirliey Fung
NEW YORK — He may have been a man who experienced most of his career behind the scenes, but the impact that Zack Carr 3rd had on the fashion industry could have rivaled that of any big-name designer.
As the creative director of Calvin Klein, where he worked for nearly three decades, Carr held major sway in the fashion direction of the house, touching everything in the designer’s realm from women’s wear and accessories to jeanswear and advertising.
“He would dream for me, and I would get to be the practical one,” Klein said at a memorial service on Thursday for Carr, who died Dec. 21 of cancer at the age of 55.
“Occasionally, we would switch roles,” Klein said.
Around 200 people gathered for Carr’s services, held at Saint Thomas Church in Manhattan, including several prominent editors and colleagues who worked with the designer during their tenures at Calvin Klein. Among them were Gabrielle Forte, former president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein, who is now ceo of Ibeauty.com; Matt Nye, a former Klein designer who started his own line three years ago; Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue; Kelly Klein, and stylist Joe McKenna.
As creative director, Carr had a hand in every aspect of the company’s products. Most recently, he helped spearhead Klein’s entry into home furnishings, helping to transfer the Klein clothing aesthetic into a new field.
Klein gave a fond remembrance that touched on their 30 years of collaboration and friendship.
“Leaving him goes far beyond saying goodbye to a family member,” said Klein. “Parting with Zack Carr is like parting with a piece of myself. I will miss him.”
Klein’s eulogy was also punctuated with moments of levity.
“He came up with the most sophisticated and esoteric names for words. Like ‘liquid’ silk charmeuse,” said Klein, evoking laughter from the pews. “How would anyone know what we’re talking about? What color is liquid?”
Carr was known for his creative imagination, his eye for beauty and his rich memory, said Klein, who noted that he could remember precise details, such as the exact color of a Balenciaga satin evening coat from the spring of 1952.
Born and raised in Kerrville, Tex., Carr began his career working for retailer B. Altman & Co. and manufacturer Donald Brooks before joining Calvin Klein in the early Seventies. He left Klein in 1984 to design his own line, but returned in 1988.
Carr studied interior design and architecture at the University of Texas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1969. He then went on to attend Parsons School of Design in New York for three years beginning in 1970. It was there that Carr first met Klein, who has said that he hired him immediately.