Calvin Klein Catwalk Fashion Show Womenswear SS2018 New York

September 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items, New York, womenswear

After two collections, it’s clear that Raf Simons’ approach of Calvin Klein is to mine broad-stroke aspects of American culture, whether out of respect, curiosity or a yen to telegraph to skeptics (if any exist), his appropriateness for the creative helm of one of the great bastions of American fashion. Hence, a prolonged stroll under Sterling Ruby’s latest collaboration with Simons, the rafters now hung with colorful, exaggerated pompoms and banners representing the cheery high school life, but with grim sightings — an axe here or there — interrupting the frivolity. That provided the setting for the show, “Sweet Dreams,” inspired, Simons’ show notes informed, by the Hollywood horror genre and “its depictions of both an American nightmare, and the all-powerful American dream.” It resulted in a thoughtful juxtaposition of pleasant facade and disturbing underbelly, realized via a collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Simons used graphics from the artist’s “Death and Disaster” series to recontextualize clothes that ranged from ethereal (ghostly, billowing nightgowns) to cool (coed denim).
Within the social-commentary context, Simons mused broadly and brilliantly on silhouette and materials. He presented Take Two on several very American motifs introduced in his debut collection — the denim, quilts and the color-blocked Western shirts with which he opened. These made an odd kickoff to a show brimming with ideas: modernist nylon redos of full-skirted Fifties frocks, madcap dresses made from miles of yarn fringe, and, for men, lean-cut plaid suits that worked the chic side of geek.

The clothes were often inventive and always impeccable. Yet it all felt a little hollow, observational rather than immersive. Perhaps it’s the difference between an intellectual and emotional approach. Simons falls in the former camp, and masterfully so. Yet horror is an emotional motif. The show notes indicated “a corporeality that speaks of both sexuality and mortality.” That’s a lot to put on a dress — even one with Warhol knives on it.

, our review will follow shortly.