A pioneer of clothing, underwear, home accessories, fragrance and jewellery, Calvin Klein is considered to be one of the most well-known designer names within a number of different industries today.
The American fashion house which was founded by fashion designer Calvin Klein with its headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York City is a brand which today is an international business, with separate divisions across Europe, Asia and Japan. The understated yet elegant style of Calvin Klein has captured the interest of a number of celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts, as well as across a wider international population.
Yet where did this all start and how exactly has Calvin Klein become one of the most recognisable and eminent brands today?
We’re going to take a trip back through history and introduce you to the man himself who was responsible for the creation of this iconic brand as we delve into where exactly this brand started from and how it quickly developed into what it is today.
Klein was born in 1942 and even as a young boy, he taught himself to sketch and sew. As a young gent, he managed to gain a place at the New York High School of Art and Design as well as the Fashion Institute of Technology between 1959-1962.
After spending a few years as an independent designer and creating collections for a few New York stores, in 1968 Klein took the plunge and set up his new business; Calvin Klein Inc.
However, he was not alone as he set up the business with his friend Barry Schwartz who helped to manage the business side of things. Originally the company started off by designing coats for women, however following a large order from the New York City store, Bonwit Teller, it wasn’t long before Klein’s name started to spread through the fashion industry. It took just one year for Klein to appear on the front of Vogue’s magazine.
Klein then began to expand his collection further a field as he added sportswear along with the original women’s coats. Yet by the 1970’s Klein had extended his range to a full women’s collection.
Named ‘Calvin the Conqueror’, he was also the youngest to have ever receive the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for his womenswear collection including 74 pieces.
Klein changed the market of men’s underwear forever during the 1980’s with the distinctive white underwear bought in packs of three which remarkably can still be purchased in shops today and offered an alternative which wasn’t just practical, but more importantly desirable.
However, not all was plain sailing during this time as financial problems surfaced. This along with problems to do with the licensing of the menswear line, its low sales, and huge employee turnover sparked rumours that the company was up for sale.
After nearly going into liquidation, the company was salvaged by regaining and increasing profitability throughout the 1990’s.
Klein continued his innovative work throughout the 90’s when he launched his first unisex fragrance, ‘cK One’ and was even awarded the title of America’s Best Designer.
In 2002, Klein sold his company to Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation whilst Klein maintained the creative chief’s role at the company. The transaction was financially supported by a private equity firm in New York, Alex Partners Inc.
Whilst Klein remained to be the creative head of the collections, he also continued as an advisor to the new company from 2003 but has been claimed to be more withdrawn from the business.
Klein’s advertising campaigns are perhaps as well known as the product range. His creation of adverts including young and underage models was particularly controversial. A young 15-year- old Brook Shields was photographed for one of the Klein’s’ 1980 jean campaigns with the attached slogan, "You know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing" causing quite a rumble.
However, Klein didn’t stop there. Kate Moss has also appeared in a number of his advertising campaigns, most famously when Klein launched his first unisex cologne, ‘cK one’.
You can take a look at some of Klein’s’ most controversial campaigns through the years by heading to Fashion Gone Rogue.
Fast-forwarding to the present day, Calvin Klein isn’t just a brand reputable for its popular designer clothing range. With the collaboration of Swatch Group, a collection of Calvin Klein watches was launched in 1997 and are most recognisable for their strikingly clean, refined and contemporary designs.
The Klein collection evolved even further in 2004 when the New York team launched a new range of jewellery. Alike the wonderfully sophisticated style of the Calvin Klein watches, the jewellery collection followed suit, and correctly so, as the stylish yet simple designs of pieces have proved to be extremely popular today.
Here at Wave Jewellery, we host a fantastic range of exquisite Calvin Klein jewellery. Our collection, which includes a variety of pieces such as rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants and watches, offers a sleek and refined alternative to present-day jewellery.
Our selection of silver, gold and rose gold pieces also ensures that you can easily match the tone of our jewellery to your complexion for stunning results.
As you take a browse through our full range of jewellery and observe the beautiful simplicity of the curves and lines which have been carefully crafted into each item, you will quickly learn that these pieces continue to drive the brand’s message of elegance and lust.
It would certainly be fair to say that alike the iconic clothing range, Calvin Klein’s range of watches and jewellery embed within their style the same innovative craftsmanship and sophistication which has made this brand one of the most renowned names today.
If you would like to find out more about our range of Calvin Klein jewellery, or if you have any questions regarding our collection here at Wave Jewellery, then please contact either our Manchester or Kendal stores.