Calvin Klein 205W39NYC A/W 2018
Sterling Ruby creates a dystopian barnyard scene for the brand’s Americana-inspired show
Scene setting: the American Stock Exchange Building was transformed into a dystopian Surrealist vision of America for Calvin Klein’s runway show. Installed with an immense set featuring barnhouse doorways, with barn walls painted with artworks by Andy Warhol (a continued collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which saw artwork printed underwear released earlier this month), scaffolding structures and a popcorn-covered floor, which all bore the hand of artist Sterling Ruby, the concept conjured up a pastiche of American pop-cultural references from the settting of horror films to praririe romances into a dream-like landscape.
Mood board: to this, Raf Simons added a mash-up of American cultural tropes in wearable form. Working with a list of 50 words to represent each of the United States, the collection included chiffon prairie dresses in pastel picnic checks, Western yolk shirts with contrasting coloured accents, knitwear reverse stitched with familiar cartoon characters like Looney Tunes’ Wile E Coyote and Road Runner, quilting motifs on puffer vests and the patchwork formations that have been a central motif since his debut show (featuring in the lining of parkas and hanging from the brand’s refurbished Manhattan store) transformed into prints. There were notions of American heroism throughout the show, embodied in rescue worker jackets and overalls with reflective strips, thick protective gloves and a scalloped detail dress in spaceman like silver foil.
Sound bite: Simons stated, ‘This collection is an evolution of my idea of Calvin Klein... It’s an allegory for a meeting of old worlds and new worlds, relating to the discovery of America, the 1960s Space Race and the 21st century Information Age. Reflecting the notion of democracy, there is no cultural hierarchy... More than anything else, this collection is about freedom. A word that defines America, and Calvin Klein.’