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The Calvin Klein Way

Calvin Klein, the brand, is synonymous of chic, casual, sensual and provocative, winning a place in the pantheon of the fashion universe.


The designer Calvin Richard Klein was born on November 19, 1942 in the traditional neighborhood of the Bronx in New York. Since childhood he has always been passionate about fashion, accompanying his mother on purchases of clothes. As a boy, he taught himself to draw and sew. His self-study earned him scholarships on the New York High School of Art and Design and in the Fashion Institute of Technology, known as FIT, one of the largest institutions of higher education in fashion in the United States, where he graduated in 1962. After working as an apprentice in a coats shop, he and his childhood friend Barry Schwartz, with $ 10,000 in capital, launched their first collection of men and women jackets, coats and capes, in 1968. It was born the brand Calvin Klein. Combining the talents of designer of Klein and the great sense of administration of Schwartz, they soon caught the attention of the glamorous world of fashion. The first major success came almost immediately, calling the attention of the president of Bonwit Teller department store that, impressed with the minimalist style of the young designer, gave Calvin Klein a huge order of U.S. $ 50,000, a significant amount in that time, especially considering that Calvin Klein was still an illustrious unknown.

The greatest recognition came in 1973 when the designer entered the history of fashion receiving the prestigious Coty Award, which he received again in 1974 and 1975. Soon after, he launched a collection of women sportswear, followed by other collections devoted to the female audience. At the end of this decade the name Calvin Klein began to be recognized worldwide, especially after the launch of its collection of jeans at affordable prices, very successful thanks to a commercial campaign in which the young Brooks Shields was the character. He was the first designer to put the jeans on the runway, provoking the most conservative. Yet, he was followed by other designers of that time, and jeans definitely won place in society. At this time, with sobriety as his trademark, he walked to a more sophisticated creation, using fabrics like silk, crepe, linen and wool, to create stretched lines clothes, with structured shoulders, always respecting the concepts of harmony of proportions.

In the 80s the brand decided to diversify its products with the launch of collections of lingerie and perfumes that would make huge success with the public. Another international trend of the 90s, followed by Calvin Klein, was the creation of an alternative brand, the cK Calvin Klein, which represent a more urban, younger and colorful version of the brand, with the lines of men and women clothing and accessories. By the end of the 90s, the brand had six stores in the United States and others in various countries like Spain, Japan, France, Switzerland and Singapore.

In February 2003, following the trend of the big fashion houses and international luxury goods, Calvin Klein sold the brand to the U.S. group Philips-Van Heusen (PVH) for $ 438 million in cash, plus $ 30 million in stock participation and sales by 2018, but continued working as a creative consultant. Months later, he hired the Brazilian Francisco Costa and the Italian Italo Zucchelli to design, respectively, the feminine and masculine collections. Although little known in Brazil and abroad, Francisco Costa already had in the curriculum houses like Oscar de la Renta and Gucci before taking up the challenge. His debut collection, in September, garnered good critics from the international press. In August 2004, while Costa was preparing another acclaimed participation in the fashion week of New York, Calvin Klein was walking quietly in shorts and sandals by Ipanema beach, in one of many recent travels to Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro.