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The founder of the eponymous brand was born on November 19, 1942 in New York in the family of the owner of a modest grocery store. Klein himself recalled much later that this is exactly what he likes the States - everyone will get their chance if they have some abilities and are ready for hard work.
From early childhood, Calvin's passion was drawing, later he also learned to sew. And although there was interest in his father's enterprise, the boy still imitated his mother and grandmother more. The first shaped his taste, constantly walking around tailors and shops, and the second taught him how to work on a sewing machine. Calvin grew up in an atmosphere of feminine conversations about dresses, styles and fashion. It is not surprising that from the age of 5 the boy decided to become a designer. Such a dream allowed Klein to pave his life path without hesitation.
The young man graduated from the Higher School of Arts, managing to become one of the best there. From 1960-1962, Klein learned the science of dressing at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology. He understood that one must not only learn theory, but also master practice. That is why, in parallel with her studies, Calvin is also doing an internship at the atelier, cutting costumes. Then for 6 years Kelvin studied with various designers in their workshops and even made portraits of passers-by on the streets of America's main metropolis. Although this way of life did not bring income, invaluable experience was accumulated. And in the evenings, Klein did his own portfolio.
In 1968, Calvin, along with his childhood friend Barry Schwartz, founded Calvin Klein, Ltd. in New York. It was funded by Schwartz himself, and Klein had to generate ideas. So the childhood dream of a Brooklyn boy came true, becoming a legend. Soon Calvin created his first collection, it was exhibited on one of the hotel floors. A fashion boutique was located upstairs.
The director of this store somehow made the wrong floor and ended up exactly where the aspiring designer showed his creations. Klein's works shocked the entrepreneur so much that he immediately placed an order for the amount of 50 thousand dollars. This victory made Klein famous, he gained financial independence, which allowed him to create his own fashion without looking back at anyone.
The designer himself would call the 1970s crazy. The successful fashion designer became part of the bohemian and golden youth. He could not resist and plunged into the sea of entertainment and vices - alcohol, drugs, promiscuous sex. Somehow, Klein also managed to work on his own brand. If initially his atelier produced men's outerwear, then over time, Klein switches to women.
In the 1970s, he managed to adapt a classic men's suit for ladies. The model was named PeaCoat, or pea jacket. It was a short, double-breasted coat with wide lapels. The model became not only a hit of the season, but actually determined the direction of the development of women's clothing for the next ten years. Klein's creations implemented the main principle of American fashion. It was believed that a modest dress can be considered chic, because the main thing is how it is made.
In 1973, Calvin Klein received a significant award for his impeccable and sophisticated clothing - the Coty Prize. She became its youngest laureate. The designer doesn't even think to stop. Already next year, he creates his own collection of accessories and fur clothing. But the further development along the knurled path of talent was simply not interesting - Klein begins to prepare a real sensation, the first of those with which he will shake both the fashion world and the entire moralized American society.
In 1978, Klein introduced the world's first designer jeans. Previously, these clothes were considered inexpensive and everyday, but Calvin managed to present them as stylish, sexy. This is exactly what was required for the liberated youth. Thanks to the excellent cut, the figure fit perfectly, which made it possible to emphasize the slimness of the legs and their length. And on the back pocket were placed the logos of the designer himself, Calvin Clein and Omega.
Even advertising for new clothes was provocative. In 1980, a collaboration with photographer Bruce Weber created a defiant jeans poster. A teenager Brooke Shields, who later became a movie star and sex symbol, was smiling in the photo. At the bottom of the poster was a provocative text: "Do you know that there is nothing between me and my jeans? ..".
A scandal immediately erupted in the country, Klein was accused of using children in almost pornographic photo shoots. As a result, the noise was drowned out, and the jeans had to be discontinued. Only in 1998, the classic model was launched on the market again.
In 1982, Klein also came up with a collection of men's underwear. The ad, calling for new underwear with a wide elastic band and branded lettering, starred the rapper Mark Mark and supermodel West. For the first time, a half-naked male body has become an aesthetic symbol. And even though Klein's models are accused of being too sexy, the designer himself says that his underwear is for those who want to attract the eyes of the opposite sex.
In the 1980s, Klein devoted himself to releasing new jeans and underwear. His advertising is constantly accompanied by scandals, already becoming part of the created personal image. For example, the poster "The Last Supper from Klein" simply provoked the outrage of believers. It showed the famous biblical scene, only the heroes were half-naked models in jeans. The church even filed a million-dollar lawsuit, which Klein had to pay.
However, Klein realized that this was part of the success. In 1992 America was shaken again. This year is considered the beginning of a new youth style, unisex. Klein released a new poster featuring a young model Kate Moss and the same rapper Mark Mark. The poster depicted thin people who looked like swearing at each other in figures, hairstyles and clothes. The models were also half-naked. The idea was that new clothes from the controversial designer could look equally good on both boys and girls.
Young people took this idea with a bang, the new style immediately began to sell well. And in 1999, Klein again creates a new scandalous advertisement. His new line is underwear for teens and children. As a result, provocative photos with children were recognized as too frivolous. And again, in order to avoid further accusations, the advertising campaign was suspended, and Klein himself apologized to the public.
The empire of the fashion designer itself grew tirelessly all this time. The small atelier turned into a huge enterprise with an annual turnover of $ 5 billion. Klein led a smart marketing strategy that created an image of his brand and strong associations with it among buyers. And scandals and conflicts only helped to create an original image of the product, which began to symbolize sexuality, youth, and relaxedness. And Klein himself was one of the first to offer his clients a complete set of clothes - from underwear to fashion accessories.
After the positions in the US and European markets became stable, Klein began to promote his brand to the East. His boutiques have appeared in Kuwait, Jakarta and Hong Kong. One of Klein's secrets was a quick reaction to changing global fashion trends. So, at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, he was one of the first to turn to the "military" style. The brand presented overcoats, knee pads and knee-length skirts in khaki colors.
Along with clothing, Klein began to offer fragrances, each of which has a male and female version. In 1983 "Eternity" appeared, in 1985 - "Obsession", and in 1986 - "Outlet". Thanks to these scents, the style of clothing has become even more emphasized, and they themselves have become popular. It is no coincidence that today the Calvin Klein perfume line is almost the most counterfeit in the world. In 1998, the most famous fragrance, Contradiction, was released. It is believed that the smell will suit those who are used to solving their problems on their own.
Although the brand has a scandalous reputation, it occupies an important place in world fashion. And fellow competitors themselves agree with this. Klein himself received the Coty award three times in 1973-175. He has received four US national fashion awards, the American Fashion Awards. At the presentation of the next such award, the president of the Council of Fashion Designers said that Calvin, like no one else, deserves an award for his contribution to the development of fashion.
The turbulent 1970s have passed, and the fashion designer has settled down. In 1986 he married again, to his assistant, Kelly Rector. The first marriage with Jane Senter lasted 10 years in 1964-1974 and gave the designer a daughter. Now the couple has acquired a dwelling on the seashore, in East Hampton. Now Klein leads an exemplary and healthy lifestyle - he swims, runs in the morning.
And in his free time, fashion gurus visit their favorite exotic restaurants. Klein argues that wealth and fame allow him to deal with good food. The designer is full of ideas and plans, and his personal life is in full swing. After another divorce in 2006, he even managed to meet with porn actor Nick Gruber, who is 48 years younger than Klein.