Calvin Klein Profile

All About Fashion Designer Calvin Klein

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I've always had a clear design philosophy and point of view about being modern, sophisticated, sexy, clean and minimal. They all apply to my design esthetic. -- Calvin Klein in Women's Wear Daily.

Calvin Klein's unwavering vision of minimal designs and wearable urban styles are part of what make him an icon: his widely recognized marketing genius is also part of the package.

Back in the late '70s Klein launched a designer jeans line, which not only broke down price barriers by offering a lower-priced line, but spawned sexy ads featuring teenage model Brooke Shields (as well as actor Mark Whalberg) which were just the first in a line of controversial ads.

He's also influenced many of the minimal-chic designers of the late 20th century, including Miuccia Prada and Donna Karan, and remains one of the most recognizable designer names in the world.

Vital Stats

CFDA Designer of the year 1993 for best womenswear and menswear

Known for: Minimal, sophisticated designs; marketing genius.

DOB: November 19, 1942

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Started in the business: 1968

Education: Fashion Institute of Technology, New York


6 Things You Might Not Know About Calvin Klein

  • Calvin Klein started out as a coat company, and moved to sportswear.
  • He's left his mark with some industry firsts, including making utilitarian men's underwear sexy and the first unisex fragrance, CK One.
  • He sold his company in '03 to Phillips Van Heusen, but remains active in design direction.
  • The woman he designs for: Urban sophisticate who values wearable fashions over showy styles or logos.
  • Notable quotes:"Fashion is about change and, for me, the philosophy is always the same ... that theclothes have to be really modern and make women look really beautiful," --CNN
  • "I've never been one to see women in ruffles and all kinds of fanciful apparel. To me it's just silly." -Time.


Famous Clients Include....

Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Helen Hunt, Sandra Bullock

Here's How To Get The Look

Calvin Klein is all about modern, practical fashion with an elegant touch. Here's how to translate the runway looks for yourself:

  • Think urban uniform—leather skirt, turtleneck, tights and pumps or boots. Mix and match colors and fabrics, but this is an easy, work-ready look that looks good on everyone.
  • Choose long, lean lines in whatever you wear—from knee-length skirts to narrow, cropped pants worn with boots.
  • Add in standout pieces in a reptile print like alligator or snake (or leather stamped to make mock crock) jackets, pants, skirts. Try boots or bags for smaller doses.
  • Skip the jewels—less is more when it comes to the Calvin Klein look.
  • Find styles in muted and deep tones like gray, ruby red, nude and black.
  • Choose lots of leather; wear a trim jacket in the place of a blazer, not just as outerwear.
  • Opt for styles that frame the face through structure, rather than ornamentation, think deep V necklines, turtlenecks, buttoned-to-the-top jackets.
  • Try a maxi coat for the perfect dramatic complement to spare, unfussy styles.


About Design Byte

Look for bio, hallmarks of each designer's style and how to get the looks yourself, plus great links to runway photos.

You can read more about Calvin Klein on Wikipedia, too.