It's been a decade since Italo Zucchelli was appointed creative director of Calvin Klein's men's collection. Throughout his tenure, he's always maintained an intense respect for Calvin's legacy, but it must surely be time to acknowledge Zucchelli for the transformative effect he's had on the brand. It's his now, so consistent and convincing has he been in imprinting his signatures: the fabric research, the streamlined futurism, the utilitarian precision, always set, come showtime, to a mesmerizing soundscape.
Zucchelli's presentation today was no exception. Critics might carp that his consistency is more simple repetition and point to the show-opener—a zipped blouson cut from a tech mesh, like high-performance fencing gear, paired with narrow bonded-wool pants—as proof of a kind. But that chilly view doesn't take into account how much Zucchelli's collections for Calvin reflect elements of his own history—growing up in the eighties, thriving on The Face's notions of fashion avant-gardism, honing his sensibility in Jil Sander's studio, and so on. He's a perfect hybrid.
Today's collection may have been the most personal yet. Inspired by the views of sea and sky on Fire Island, where he has a weekend home, Zucchelli used every shade of blue to salute summer, his favorite time of year. Thinking about light led him to look at James Turrell, currently on show at the Guggenheim in New York. The eeriness of Turrell's art paired neatly with Zucchelli's work to give the new collection's seascapes a sci-fi flair. But it was ultimately touch, rather than tech, that characterized Zucchelli's anniversary outing. A trio of pieces in crocodile (one, a baby blue biker vest!) were as luxe as he's ever been, and a handful of pieces cut from ticking stripe were as straightforward.