Raf Simons, Calvin Klein’s new chief creative officer, has positioned the label at the center of a cultural revolution. It is now not simply focused on fashion, but on the arts, politics and national identity of America. There is a lot that can ripple to the surface when an outsider like Simons takes a look at America — its messiness, it’s reality, cliches and of course the mythology. Simons had all of those contradictions and notions on display this season in his debut collection for Calvin Klein.
The result was a captivating, ground breaking show that avoided the pitfalls of falling prey to the current political climate. Instead Simons focused on desirable, inventive clothes by exploring the nostalgia politics has stirred up. The models were noticeably diverse — and included a parade of young men and women of all ethnicities with long, flowing hair, spiral curls and tight kinks. “It is the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself,” wrote Simons in his show notes. “It is the unique beauty and emotion of America.”
Raf Simons Fall 2017 “Imagined America” Runway Show
Raf Simons commissioned the Los Angeles-based artist Sterling Ruby to create an installation mise-en-scene for the Calvin Klein show. The results were metal buckets and sheets of faded denim hanging from the ceiling alongside old cheerleader pom-poms and other detritus from a star-spangled America.