Outside looking in is a useful point of view for an artist. It clears the vision. And it's certainly helped Italo Zucchelli wrap his head around the iconography of Calvin Klein. He's been able to isolate and elevate the pieces he sees as iconic in American sportswear. Jeans, bomber jackets, suits, and a soupçon of surf were the pillars of the collection Zucchelli showed today. Clothes for heroes is the way he saw it, and he had the Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire, the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, and the Giants' Victor Cruz in his front row, just in case anyone missed his point.
Zucchelli has perfected a masterful balancing act between the need to
make clothes that fit the Calvin mandate those guys represent and his
own desire to explore all the technological possibilities his job offers
him. It's best expressed in the fabrics he uses. Why cut a suit from
some ordinary material when there's a shimmering micro-pleated fabric on
offer? A sporty blouson takes on a whole new life when it's cut from a
glossily coated nylon. And athletic mesh adds an exotic finish to a
But these are all areas that Zucchelli has investigated in the past.
What made this collection a standout was his new interest in graphics.
He's always been the most stone-and-steel urban of designers, but here
he lit out for the coast and, as he put it, "a Californian summer." Sun,
sea, surf, a lush tropical vibe—none of these elements has ever
been part of Zucchelli's design vocabulary before, but he insisted he'd
incorporated them into his newly sunny mood. And never was his outsider
status more obvious, because sunniness for him was summed up by an
abstract print (not exactly a floral, more a "burst," he said). Printed
on cotton twill, embossed on cotton sateen, and woven into cotton silk,
it was delivered in such dark tones—and, in today's show, to a
great whack of metal music that overwhelmed the Beach Boys' "Good
Vibrations"—that it cast a noir mood over Zucchelli's clothes for
heroes. Very L.A., of course—shadows are never darker than when
the sun shines brightest. But at the same time, his ability to spark
that train of thought illuminates exactly why Zucchelli is such an
intriguing, unpredictable designer. On some deep, dark level, he may
even be a stranger to himself.
Spring 2013 Menswear
Calvin Klein Collection
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