The women’s creative director of Calvin Klein Collection on the new direction he’s steering minimalism, and the house that defines it. By Jeffrey Yan.
What does minimalism mean to you? Continuity and timelessness is the core of minimalism. While the look might have evolved since Calvin’s interpretation in the ’90s, the intent has always been the same – to purify. It is about finding that perfect balance out of imbalance; pairing shapes, fabrics, proportions, and colours that speak to the harmony of the whole. But there’s a different take on that, lately, with lingerie pieces, fringing, and fraying. Is this a deliberate change in aesthetic? I have felt very free and optimistic the last few seasons, so I wanted to think outside the box. I explored different textures and shapes to create new silhouettes, and focused on unique patterns and intricate surfaces. While deconstructed, the clothes were still true to the brand’s aesthetic, which is sophisticated and elegant. Last year was your 10th as women’s creative director at the brand. What is the biggest difference between then and now? Both Calvin Klein Collection and the fashion industry have become more global over the last decade. The international nature of the business has greatly impacted how we build and shape our brand, from how we design and market to our clients, to how we expand and where we open new stores. Speaking of expansion, new stores are opening in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong. Why do you think the brand is resonating right now? There is currently a very strong interest and appreciation for clean, minimalistic clothes in fashion, especially in the Asian market. This elegant simplicity and modernity is what we do best, and it feels very right for now, so it’s a great time to be expanding the brand’s presence throughout Asia. How has the Calvin Klein Collection woman changed? She has definitely evolved. Today she is more provocative, but with an underlying sensuality. I would say she’s extremely confident and self-aware; the kind of woman who leads a global life and is best described as sophisticated, cultured, and well-travelled. Tell us about the Autumn/ Winter ’14 collection. Rooted in rich, cosy knits it’s all about a return to basics, but basics done in a luxurious way. The use of colour is very interesting; the palette surfaced from the mix of yarns used for all the intricate knitted layers. To begin the design process, I always play with shapes first. Through draping and working with fabrics, we come up with innovative silhouettes. Fabric development is crucial – that’s what makes the clothes feel fresh and modern every season. Some designers loathe dressing celebrities for the red carpet – is it a process you enjoy? Celebrity dressing is very intense, but the visibility and exposure from it is incredible. However, the relationship has to be built on a mutual respect for each other’s work for it to be authentic and really resonate. Calvin Klein Collection opens July 1 at Lot 3.30, Pavilion KL.
Calvin Klein Collection Autumn/ Winter ’14
Naomi Watts in Calvin Klein Collection