Monday, March 30, 2009

Calvin’s Fall View: Some of This & Some of That. All Au Moderne in Color and Monochrome.

All Photos: Greg Kessler for Calvin Klein

Judging from what was on view at Calvin Klein’s Thursday, March 26 informal showroom presentation, the clothes, jeans, underwear and accessories collections for women and men, all seem to have much in common, which means that nearly everything shown is cool and moderne; young, wearable and with it.

No matter if everything was shown on models, on hangers by classification and color, or via still-life presentations, the story here begs the question of whether Klein is somewhat moving away from his expected minimalist viewpoint. Sure, there there is still lots of black, grey and white going on, but on the flip side, there is more color; lots more color across the collections, especially notable and unique when considering all of the vibrant jewel tones Klein has chosen to play with for Fall'09.

So, is the collection, on the whole, predictable Calvin? Well, on one hand yes; on the other hand, no. And, that is what makes the whole package so interesting because, while the collection is pure, expected Calvin Klein, there are still some new and neat tricks, coupled with a few surprises along the way. And, these factors serve to set such a refreshing tone for many of the pieces seen during the showing

First up, in the main room, there was a line-up (by category) of healthy, cheerful, fresh-faced models, each of whom were obviously there to portray Klein’s easy-going, fresh and definitively American look. The models, some of whom were obviously older than fifteen years of age, which was so nice to see, showed off the pieces informally to a well-attended audience of fashion editors, many of whom were given a personal walk-through of each grouping, by an equally good-looking and cheerful group of Klein’s PR and marketing people. Again, this was very pleasant to see vs. the sometimes morose, uncaring and rude PR people many editors encounter when covering collection openings; informally in showrooms and more formally at fashion shows.

At Klein’s event, everything was all good and lots of fun. It was just great seeing all of the sportswear, apparel, jeans and underwear on cheerful models (a refreshing surprise from the sullen, blankly staring models usually seen at events such as these), interacting naturally with one another (and the editors). Side-by-side with the models and the clothing and underwear, were the ample, still-life-tableau-styled accessories groupings – handbags, luggage, duffels, backpacks, footwear, scarves, ties, gloves and the like, most of which which went well with the clothing – nicely served up in groupings of day-into-evening leathers, faux animal prints and suedes.

On the whole, Klein’s idea for Fall is all about curvaceous, generous shapes and silhouttes, rendered in rich, jeweled tones of emerald, ruby and amethyst. When it came to womenswear, fabrics such as deep-pile felts, satins and cashmere blends are accented with velvet trims, heavy studs, lace and sequins, making for a interesting, if not somewhat out of the ordinary, statement here. Especially unique is the lipstick red, belted, funnel-neck cashmere coat, which brought to mind, for this editor at least, a young and lovely Nancy Reagan. Another great look is the easy-but-closer-to-the-body, black puffer jacket with super-long sleeves, that looks so right for cool to cold weather wear. It is wonderful to see a chic, little,cozy jacket like this one, that doesn’t make the wearer resemble The Michelin Man.

Moving on to the well-dressed guys, Klein favors a type of rejuvinated, modernized take on classic styling, by way of his classic peacoat, now looking zingier and more contempo by way of black and grey contrast seaming. Another neat twist on how Klein dresses today’s young man suit is the heather grey flannel two-button number, worn with a traditional white dress shirt and heather wool twill flannel top coat with grey suede gloves. Klein does have his way with menswear, because this collection is not only strong and good-looking, but thoroughly masculine across the board.

Shown right along with all of the clothes and accessories in the room are Calvin’s underwer offerings, worn, of course, by models in tip-top, athletic shape. Called “Black” and “White”, and shown in an array of classic styles, in lightweight Microfiber and stretch cotton, these pieces are good looking, but seem just too basic and staid for Klein’s customers. After all, if one is going to wear Calvin Klein inside and out, shouldn’t everything work from the inside out? With this part of the line, that simply is not clear. However, what does work and what is clearly Calvin Klein underneath it all, is the definitely sexual part of the women’s line, embracing bras, g-strings, garter belts and lace/mesh hipsters in French Leavers lace with soft mesh and microfiber. As the show program explains, these pieces are “woven with antique machines to achieve vintage touches”. A nice touch, indeed.

The new Calvin Klein Jeans Body collection was presented separately in its own little room. A few shirtless men and women in little tops – not as cheerful and interactive as the models in the main room, but all with great bodies, of course - stood in the center of the room, showing off the new jeans, while several jeans-clad men, slouched against the walls. Seeing all of this instantly brought back visions of the old-school Calvin Klein jeans campaigns (print and TV), especially the very suggestive images, which gave the designer so much publicity(good and bad).

Ad campaigns aside, and while jeans are jeans are jeans, and so on and so on, and each company and each designer tries hard to make the statement their own, Klein has made big business out of designing jeans and, in this case, the new collection has its place. As the show program says, these jeans are “engineered, tough, yet sexy, for a contoured profile-enhancing fit.” Done in a classic, skinny cut for women in nouveau rinses of copper and rusted iron, and for men, in a straight leg style, in copper rinse and destructed ore, the $79.50 pricepoint seems reasonable.

Oh, and by the way, just to make sure that every invited guest left the event still feeling happy, a pair of jeans in the requested size, fit and wash, was handed out to each editor in a special Calvin Klein Jeans gift bag.

– Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg

1 comment:

  1. Always did love Calvin Klein's minimalistic look, and I agree that it's somehow the same but different every time.

    It's so rare to find Calvin Klein stores though. It makes the chase even more fun though.