If you're going to adopt American icons as your theme, you could do much worse than to start with Bruce Weber, America's greatest modern iconographer. And Weber makes even more sense for Calvin Klein designer Italo Zucchelli, because the photographer's campaigns for the label created some of the most iconic publicity images of the past 30 years. But what truly hovered over Zucchelli's latest Calvin collection was the spirit of the photographs Weber took of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team for a special issue of Interview. The chiseled perfection of the models with their aerodynamic hair echoed Weber and, beyond that, Leni Riefenstahl's Aryan androids.
The clothes were infused with an athleticism so overt that some of them could have leapt straight from catwalk to parallel bars without an eyeblink. Airtex tops, tanks, Lycra shorts, and leather trackpants suggested workout wear. A sweatsuit was exactly that: jacket and trousers tailored out of sweatshirting. An outfit that looked like a gymnast's one-piece topped by a flesh-toned jacket tailored to Zucchelli's demanding specs just about summed up this designer's cerebral take on the physical. Perhaps such a thing is inevitable when a European eye is trained on an American fashion institutionwhat it ultimately means is that Zucchelli's evolution of the Klein ethos is producing some of the most modern and perversely attractive menswear around. E.g., blue and silver blousons produced in a lenticular process that gives them an alien shimmer, or shirt and trousers seamlessly fused into one jumpsuit moment. Soundtrack note: James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem would surely appreciate the irony of his track "North American Scum" looping throughout a show devoted to American icons.