With Kate Moss back in 1993!
Calvin Klein is a brand as ubiquitous as Coca Cola in most areas of the Western World. However, the man behind the infamous pant/jeans/fragrance AND high fashion empire has never been as forthcoming as the hot naked folk e.g. Marky Mark Walberg or Kate Moss - who feature in his sexual advertisements. If anything, Mr Klein has been considerably guarded in his approach to publicity. Unwilling to be interviewed, censorious of journalists who threatened to publish stories that might invade his privacy, and, most famously in the Nineties, he almost succeeded in having a tell-all unofficial biography, Obsession – The Life and Times of Calvin Klein – supressed.
With his boyfriend Nick Gruber earlier this year
Now, free from any working relationship with his clothing company, although he still has a financial stake in the business now worth $6bn (!!) and having gone public about his relationship with a much younger boyfriend (he’s been married twice to women, and used to be famously unwilling to have his sexuality discussed in any way) he seems to have lightened up LOADS! He took part in a ‘public tête-à-tête with Fern Mallis’ i.e. – he was interviewed on stage by the New York Fashion Week organiser and former journalist, and seems to have agreed to a refreshingly uncensored range of questions. Here’s what he said about. . . .
Working with Kate Moss – or rather, choosing an unknown Kate Moss to star in his ads which then made her more than a bit famous;
‘The reason for Kate [Moss] and this whole group of women I found that someone named “waifs” was because before that, a lot of women were getting breast implants and doing things to their buttocks. It was getting out of control. I just found something so distasteful about all that. I wanted someone who was natural, always thin. I was looking for the complete opposite of that glamour type that came before Kate.’
His famous branded designer pants – the first ever underpants of their kind!
Calvin Klein with his wife Kelly in 1990
‘My second wife Kelly worked with me in the design studio for a long period of time and she was greatly responsible for us doing underwear.…I still wear it. And I wear other people’s underwear, too, because I want to check out the competition’
His daughter , Marcy’s issue with the ubiquitous underwear; ‘She was quoted in Time or Newsweek to something of the effect of, “Every time I go to bed with some guy, I’m looking at my dad’s name on their underwear.” I said to my psychiatrist at the time, “I don’t think that’s very funny.” And he said, “Lighten up.”’
Drug addiction and public ‘meltdowns’ – in 2003 he wandered onto the court at a Basketball game in Madison Square gardens, while having a relapse into drug addiction. He said of this time; I’ve had a couple [of meltdowns]. I’ll never forget, Kelly said, “You have to do it at a game before the playoffs when everyone is watching?” I struggled with addiction and lots of people do. That was really a shameful, horrible moment. It had nothing to do with work. I’ve done enough therapy and enough work on myself. Addiction is not caused by stress on the job, even though lots of people in the fashion industry have suffered from the same problem. It’s not about the work. It has more to do with your childhood and lots of other things. You’re always in recovery. You’re always aware that this is something you don’t want to do, whether it’s drugs, sex, food. There are lots of addictions.
What’s still on his to-do list;
‘I’m in a relationship. I fell in love with a young man who is a total athlete. And we went paragliding off Aspen Mountain about four weeks ago. That was a trip, let me tell you’
Aaaaand, his career highlights!
There are no favourites. It’s the culmination of all the work that is really important to me. It’s not one collection. It’s not about one anything. It’s about all of the years constantly doing the best you can do. For me, that’s really the definition of success. People sometimes think, well it’s how much money you make or whatever they think about success. Just doing the best I can do and then hoping people appreciate it. But then I know I wouldn’t feel successful.
WOW! Now there’s a man with more than a few stories to tell.