Aurora Garrison | November 2017
“I’ve come to realize that Warhol’s genius goes much deeper than cheerful Campbell’s Soup paintings,” said Raf Simons, Calvin Klein’s chief creative officer.
Simons sees Warhol’s art as a significant statement on America that adds power, depth and visual beauty to the Calvin Klein design, “Warhol’s art tells more truths about this country than you can find almost anywhere else.”
On November 28, 2017 Calvin Klein announced its four-year agreement with The Andy Warhol Foundation, providing the fashion company unparalleled access to the foundation’s archive, which allows the fashion designer to incorporate Warhol’s art into Calvin Klein’s fashion and design.
Through 2020, the label will have access to the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks, some never seen before. In consideration for the use of Warhol’s art, Calvin Klein will financially contribute to The Andy Warhol Foundation’s endowment that provides grants for contemporary visual art and artists.
Simons’ first campaign for Calvin Klein in Summer 2017, was partially photographed at the Andy Warhol Foundation and featured Warhol’s works Skull (above), Elvis 11 Times (Studio Type), Ambulance Disaster and Statue of Liberty.
In recent collaborations with other artists, Simons, has worked with Sterling Ruby and Peter Saville on designs for the fashion label. Simons has partnered with the Andy Warhol Foundation in previous fashions. While Simons was the creative director of Christian Dior’s womenswear, he secured the licensing rights for Warhol’s drawings of women’s high heels and floral designs for Dior’s Fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection.
The style critic Tim Blanks described the playful Warholian embellishments as “embroidered fragments that induced a fugue state of reverie (for Warhol fans, at least).” In the time since the Dior collaboration with Simons, The Andy Warhol Foundation has also collaborated with Uniqlo and Comme des Garçons to create Warhol-inspired garments and accessories.
Calvin Klein’s Spring 2018 runway collection includes Warhol prints (above), utilizing a series of images taken between 1963 and 1982, with the notable faces such as Sandra Brant and Dennis Hopper.
Simons describes why Andy Warhol and Calvin Klein are such a provocative mix, successfully creating new, iconic fashions with Warhol’s art, Warhol’s art captures “all sides of the American experience, including sometimes its darker sides.”