With just days before Raf Simons makes his much-anticipated debut for Calvin Klein at New York Fashion Week, the label has dropped a brand new campaign. Simons has never shied away from the influence that the arts have had on his work. The Belgian designer is a fan of Surrealism and even showed a collection of garments emblazoned with Robert Mapplethorpe photography last year. His now-iconic debut couture show for Dior also featured Jeff Koons-inspired flower walls. So it seems only fitting that his first campaign should feature clothes on a backdrop of iconic contemporary pieces.
Now Simons has unveiled a new set of ads for Klein’s archival “American Classics.” Klein is brand that gained notoriety through advertising campaigns that pushed the limits of pre-watershed acceptability, but Simons is going with a less brash approach to show off his latest designs. The photos were shot by Willy Vanderperre in front of some iconic works of American contemporary art by Sterling Ruby, Dan Flavin, Andy Warhol, and Richard Prince. In a further break from expectation, the models are all relative unknowns.
“It’s a celebration of Calvin Klein’s iconic underwear and jeans, acknowledging their status as Pop and showing them in the world of art,” Simons explained to WWD. Pieter Mulier, the brand’s creative director, adds: “Looks were specifically chosen from the Calvin Klein archive for the campaign; it’s both a recognition of design firsts and the photographic history of the brand that made these garments famous.”