Calvin Klein uses America as its inspiration to deliver a spring collection that is youthful, street-savvy, and most importantly, versatile. Ricky Ronaldo reports from Seoul
Calvin Klein—Calvin Klein Jeans and Underwear, to be exact—has created quite a few viral campaigns lately. These have featured, among others, Kaia and Presley Gerber, whose mother is none other than supermodel Cindy Crawford, as well as the Kardashian sisters, just to name a few.
So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that when I attended the Calvin Klein’s spring 2018 press preview at Layer57 studio, imagery from those campaigns were on full display. The set of the presentation beautifully followed the backdrop of the campaign, with its rustic interior and wooden furnishings, all of which had an undeniably American feel to it. After all, it is Calvin Klein we’re talking about.
The press preview also saw the latest offerings, such as Calvin Klein Underwear, CK Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Performance. The latter was something that I had the opportunity to try on during a yoga session at Om Factory. This spring also marks the launch of Calvin Klein Performance’s debut collection for men.
Out of the four, though, Calvin Klein Jeans remained the day’s focus. “Remodeled American classics” and “bold individualism” were among the key words that described the collection. In such a way, the clothes resemble Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein—the 205W39NYC one—filled with many references of essential American utility uniforms refashioned into something modern, fresh and immaculately youthful.
Case in point: The band uniform shirts featuring contrasting flap pockets, which took center stage among Calvin Klein Jeans’ spring offerings. This contrasting detail, which is known to many as “color blocking” and formed a definite key trend this spring and summer, basically entails taking two colors from the opposite sides of the color wheel and pairing them together. This can mean merging two hyper-saturated colors, or paring a bright color with a more neutral hue.
In Calvin Klein Jeans, this was done in both ways. Some of the starker contrasts include the long sleeved black western denim shirt that was contrasted with white pockets. There was also a red shirt with clashing khaki pockets, which is actually a nod to the rich iconography of modern American pop art. Even the collection’s denim shirt—the one worn by Kaia Gerber and Kim Kardashian in their respective campaigns— was contrasted with white pockets to exemplify the disparity between tones.
Of course, this was balanced with more “subdued” color blocks, including merging khaki shirts with yellow pockets, which is then paired with a black straight denim pant with a double sided white stripe for a sport-meets-casual look.
The trousers, meanwhile, definitely exuded an athleisure feel. They were injected with sportswear influences, as seen in, for example, high rise denim pants that were given side stripes in different colors. The pieces come off looking like track pants at a glance and were offered in many color combinations as well. White pants were contrasted with red stripes, black mingled with white, while red is merged with camel.
But while “color blocking” was the highlight of Calvin Klein Jeans, the collection also offered pieces with a more clean palette, like the navy short-sleeved shirt. For this range, Calvin Klein Jeans has plastered their iconic logo on a customized patch, which actually provides quite a bold touch to what are otherwise simple pieces.
“After all, we’re talking about a brand that has successfully managed to turn underwear into a cultural icon”
Aside from Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear also introduced new innovative ranges through its spring collection. One particularly worth highlighting is the Focused Fit, which is made using lightweight microfiber and soft stretch cotton. But the true essence of the Focused Fit lies in its needle line craftsmanship, particularly the one that contours the groin, resulting an ultimate support and comfort, as it perfectly sculpts the body.
Talking about fine craftsmanship, Calvin Klein Performance’s debut collection for men also utilized technical fabrics for added comfort. Sportswear, like compression tanks, were constructed with quick-dry stretch fabric that wicks away moisture and back mesh panels that adds extra breathability for extra comfort. Tights, meanwhile, were also given strategically-placed seams for circulation.
Design-wise, the Performance range was creatively infused with bold and retro-inspired colors, most notably orange and red. And going with its athleisure atmosphere, clothes were also imbued with a heavy dose of street style. One particular look that comes to mind is the black stand-up collar trench coat, which can be easily worn at the gym and even to the office.
And this beautifully sums up what Calvin Klein had brought to the table: inclusion. That is, the merge of sports and office, casual and formal, in one outfit. Casual wear was given a side of sports, while sports were given the sophistication of office wear. Yes, while many traditional minded men may still hesitate to mix sports and office wear in a single look, who’s to say that it won’t happen eventually? After all, we’re talking about a brand that has successfully managed to turn underwear into a cultural icon.
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