Calvin Klein Collection Spring 2017 Menswear
Calvin Klein is in a strange situation for Spring. Actually, it’s not that strange: house sans creative director holds the fort for a season or few with the uncredited, somewhat unloved anonymous mass of the “design team” before unveiling its splashy new hire. It’s becoming the oldest story in the fashion book. Since the April departures of Italo Zucchelli and Francisco Costa, creative directors of men’s and women’s Calvin Klein Collection lines, respectively, eyes are on Klein, awaiting presumably imminent confirmation of its much-rumored new blood.
But fashion waits for no man; even without a designer in the post, Klein has to produce something to plug the seasonal gap. Why? Calvin Klein Collection’s sales make up a tiny proportion of the overall turnover of the behemoth company—in 2015, worldwide revenue stood around $8.2 billion, with a focus on jeans and underwear—thus the focus is on the marketing power of the high-fashion range. (Klein poetically dubs it the “halo” brand.) That helps make sense of the necessity to show the range in this interim period; it’s important for Klein’s name to remain in fashion magazines, and to retain a presence on the Fashion Week calendar. Where, presumably, this time next season, someone else will be debuting their menswear for the brand, and we’ll all be dying to write about it.
But not today. Team-lead collections are notoriously tricky beasts, frequently wrong-footed by runway showcases where fitful applause and a long pause in place of a designer’s bow only serves to emphasize an absence of creative direction. Kudos is due to Klein, then, for bowing out of the pressure of such a show and instead presenting a quiet selection of quiet clothes with a minimum of fuss. Incidentally, they intend to do the same for women in September.
The clothes themselves were basic, honestly; continuing in the vein of Zucchelli’s output, they trod the well-traveled road of Americana, reiterating jean and varsity jackets, collegiate sweaters, a mesh baseball shirt, and pleat-front chinos, but in twills shot through with nylon, to give a crunch and a glisten to the textile, or a slithery, sickly-looking satin.
It was a serviceable effort, but one that in its timidity betrayed its design-by-committee roots, as well as a debt to the past few collections by Zucchelli, whose strongest moments were intriguing riffs on tech reinterpretations of Klein signature, best-selling denims. A shot of shiny thread in a weave doesn’t really cut it. It’s difficult to imagine anything in this offering justifying a Calvin Klein Collection price tag. No matter. This was about garnering yet more anticipation for what will come next—and that was palpable.
The all-important motto here? Wait and see. There are exciting things about to be afoot at Klein. This collection was the breathing space, before its breath of fresh air.