“A Few Palm Trees,” the tongue-in-cheek title of a self-published 1971 book by California artist Ed Ruscha, provided one of the emblematic print motifs for Italo Zucchelli’s latest men’s show for Calvin Klein, and its rather forced titled, “Graphic Heatwave.”
Like Ruscha’s book, Zucchelli’s collection was single-minded, reductive and repetitive — and it was all the better for it. For the designer distilled the essence of the brand — clean, minimal and as urbane as New York City — into his muscular tailoring and military-tinged sportswear.
Sturdy fabrics like cotton twill added stiffness to topcoats and short, strong-shouldered jackets. Zucchelli also employed cotton twills and jacquards to approximate a signature of the brand — denim — giving jeans and jean jackets a worn, yet sculptural aspect. The other main ingredients were hefty military parkas, cropped nylon bombers, boxy T-shirts, and narrow chinos with a wavy loop of fabric tacked to the waistband, echoing the lacquered waves of color winking from sleeveless T-shirts layered under gauzy sweaters.
Some of the chinos and bombers were riddled with enough removable utility pockets to carry all your friends’ keys, smokes and cell phones. Luckily, like the palm trees, such gimmicks were few.