Calvin Klein is an American fashion designer with a wide range of clothing line. He also branched out into range of perfumes, watches, jewelries, cosmetics and a host of other collections.
Calvin Richard Klein was born November 19, 1942, in the Bronx, New York. He is the second of three children. Klein acquired his love for sewing from his grandmother who was a seamstress. His mother encouraged his love of art and fashion. As an active youngster, Klein began to work in fashion sketching before puberty and eventually joined the Industrial Arts High School and art student league. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of technology in 1963.
He studied fashion in New York and apprenticed for a suit manufacturer.In 1968,Klein and Barry Schwartz opened their own company. Schwartz was responsible for the business of things, Klein was responsible for design and artistic vision. The brand was initially recognized as a blazer and jacket, but Klein’s range of sportswear also became popular. He won three Coty awards for women’s wear and the business eventually expanded to include men’s wear, jeans, cosmetics, fragrance and home collections. Klein sold the company in 2003. However,he became the force behind model/celebrity ads. This has become iconic parts of popular culture while causing a lot of controversy and debate due to their provocative nature.
Klein worked in various industries before starting his own label. In 1968, he and his childhood friend Barry Schwartz became business partners. Schwartz gave $10,000 to Klein to start the label after he took over the home grocery business. Renting a small showroom, Klein was finally able to reach an agreement with the department store Bonwit Teller, after a casual encounter with one of its buyers. With exposure provided by teller and consumer demand, Klein was able to get millions of sales in the early 70s.
Klein initially focused on women’s coats and matching, but eventually expanded to more women’s clothing, cultivating a minimalist, streamlined look. Later in the decade, he dabbled in menswear and jeans. Thus, becoming a major player in the denim market, when it was dominated by Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordache and Sasson. Klein hired fashion celebrities to help shape his vision, with some arguing that Francis Stein, a former Vogue editor, is the force behind Klein’s famous sex appeal. By the 1980s, Klein’s brand was also known as lingerie and luxury perfume and Cologne with the corresponding advertising campaign. Over the next decade, the brand expanded into the home-based clothing sector.
The company faced significant financial difficulties in the 1990s and was saved by a financial bailout from friend David Geffen. Calvin Klein later brought a suit against its licensee, the Warnaco Group, in 2000, for breach of contract agreements and Trademark Law (The case was resolved outside the court).Klein and Schwartz entered into a series of licensing agreements in their careers. However,they sold the company to Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation in 2003 for $ 430 million in cash and stock and limited royalty. As of 2016, Raf Simons was appointed as the Chief Creative Officer of the Calvin Klein brand, serving as the unified head of its departments.
While generally private, Klein openly talks about intimacy with both men and women. He refuses to assign any specific label to his sexual identity in an interview. However, he admitted that most of his advertising campaigns were inspired by what happened in his personal life. Calvin Klein was married 10 years to Jayne center, with the couple having a daughter, Marcy. He later married Kelly Rector in 1986 and after years of separation, the couple divorced in 2006 in a friendly manner.
Klein was once an avid night-lifer and resident of the well-known 54 studios. He also struggled with drug addiction and alcohol drinking, staying in a rehab center in Minnesota in 1988. He later struggled with drug abuse again while his company was selling and was able to successfully complete rehab in Arizona.