5 posts tagged "Kevin Carrigan"
The basketball courts at Houston and Sixth Avenue made a big impression on Kevin Carrigan as a young Englishman in New York. He re-created them at the Calvin Klein presentation this morning, from the wire fencing of the set all the way up to his Spring clothes, which embrace and celebrate the all-American athleticism of the company’s heritage. “Last season was about sensual, soft minimalism,” he explained. “This one is more about fast-forward minimalism.” A sheer cobalt-blue tank dress, for starters, was layered over boy briefs and a bandeau bra, and perforated PVC was whipped up into a zip-front sleeveless dress, a sweatshirt, and kicky to-the-knee skirts. Even the suiting took on a sporty edge, with a sleeveless tailored jacket layered over a mesh tee and trousers. You wouldn’t mistake any of it for exercise gear, but the women’s collection had a nice energy, emphasized by the graphic black-and-white color palette and the hits of sky blue.
Those hits kept hitting in the men’s collections. From the underwear, which came in two-tone jewel colors and cut in a new Brazilian square cut, to sky-blue cotton suiting, Carrigan was delivering what he called “high-octane color.” It was balanced by the usual Calvin palette of slate and ice grays. The sport-inspired mesh that suffused the women’s collection was here, too, in micro-mesh textures layered on one another: A cotton mesh dress shirt with a silk mesh tie. “Wearing the mini-mesh textures together is a new direction, I feel,” he said. “I’m taking the sport and introducing the formality—taking the formal out of formal.” It gave even the more traditional silhouettes (a straight pant rather than a tapered one, a slight break rather than the ubiquitous crop) a slight charge. With the menswear more than the womenswear, a resurgent sense of the old mixed with the new. The inspirations were, on one hand, sportswear from the thirties, and on the other, from modern-day basketball. Leather lace-ups with athletic cotton ankle socks underscored the point.
You can smell a Calvin theme by the set dressing. Last season’s ode to angularity and geometric form was staged under the eaves of a house stripped to its beams. But today’s Fall presentation of Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans, and Calvin Klein Underwear, all under the able auspices of Kevin Carrigan, was white sand and what looked like wheat-y beach grass. “It could be Marfa, Texas; it could be Calvin in the Hamptons,” Carrigan said.
Marfa, Texas, was famously the seat of power of the great minimalist Donald Judd, whose influence the designer said he had been channeling. But the driving spirit was, as always, fashion’s master minimalist: Calvin himself. Minimalism can read chilly, but Carrigan was working to bring out its softness and warmth. “A sensual shift,” he opined. You could see that in the cool, creamy palette and the brushed fabrics. “I’ve never used these brushed alabaster flannels,” Carrigan said, gesturing at a simple sheath dress, “and, to me, that’s quintessential Carolyn Bessette”—quintessential Calvin girl, onetime Calvin employee, and nineties minimalist par excellence.
The range had a quiet glamour that last season’s outing missed, and key pieces—like Antonina Vasylchenko’s fur-trimmed parka, worn with a loose-woven cabled sweater—looked appealingly rich. Carrigan aimed to leaven minimalism with movement, so crystal-pleated shirts swished and longer pant lengths slouched and trailed. The longer skirts, on the other hand, hitting just below the knee, were a little too schoolmarm strict. A black leather pleated skirt and stud-fastening shirt looked like more fun.
“The Minimalist” is the title Kevin Carrigan gave to his new collections for Calvin Klein’s White Label. “Mies van der Rohe, Ellsworth Kelly, that American era,” he said at a presentation yesterday, where models lounged, sunbathed, and did the occasional pushup in a minimal “house” made of construction studs. “Artists were doing things that were very linear, very graphic. Calvin’s always had this singular note of architectural, minimal. It seems like a lot of people doing that, using Calvin as an influence. So why not be true to us?”
You can’t out-Calvin Calvin, in other words, and the collection he showed suggested that resistance may be futile. The fabrics are soft (habutai and crepe de chine, jersey) but the lines were hard and graphic: bold blocks of color and stripe, in black and white, set off by what Carrigan was calling “gouache colors”: cool viridian green and cobalt blue. Stark, yes, but not rigid—”the effortless ease of a tunic and a T-shirt” is how Carrigan summed it up—and though colors were cooler, they were still pretty bright. They’d been inspired by the runaway success of the brightly colored underwear and jeans the skivvies division created last season. If drawers continue to be the predictor of things to come, look out for single-seam garments next season: That’s the big story for this Spring’s underthings.
Calvin Klein hosted its Fall presentation this morning at the company’s 39th Street headquarters. Kevin Carrigan, the brand’s global creative director, was feeling jolly, not only because he’s headed to Bali for a break later this week, but also because revenues for the Calvin Klein business were way up for the fourth quarter last year. Walking us around the installation, he said, “It started with skin.” As in a second-skin jersey turtleneck (a hot item on the Fall runways) and faux animal skins ô la this snake pattern top and pants outfit, the collection’s strongest look. Python just won’t quit. We saw it on the Spring catwalks, and it slithered its way down plenty more for Fall; see Prada, Dries Van Noten, and Bottega Veneta. It can be a pricey trend to latch on to, which is where Carrigan and his head-to-toe prints ($69 for the top and $89 for the harem pants) come in.
This morning, our senior market editor, Marina, and I went to check out Calvin Klein’s offering for Fall. And though Kevin Carrigan and the design team helming the Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans lines aren’t on exactly the same nouveau-futuristic wavelength as Collection creative directors Francisco Costa (women’s) and Italo Zucchelli (men’s), there’s plenty of the sleek, slightly severe return to minimalism that characterized the Collection runways (and their assortment of high-nineties supes). Slim separates—”cadet-inspired,” the company has it—came in black wool, some snaked with gleaming zippers, as in a chic, asymmetrical jacket. A one-button women’s suit with inlaid leather panels, new for this season, was sharp. But best overall, Marina and I agreed, was the men’s footwear. A pair of side-buckled Chelsea boots (bottom) lightened up the military tone of the men’s collection, and I loved the angular rubber soles on a pair of black lace-ups (top) from the Jeans collection.