Kendall Jenner is the model of the moment – starring in every campaign that matters for the past 18 months – including becoming the face of coveted label Calvin Klein. But in a recent interview Calvin Klein himself has shared his disapproval of Jenner and her sisters, particularly Kim Kardashian, and their association with the brand and influence on fashion.
During a Q&A at Savannah College of Art and Design with former CFDA president Fern Mallis, the designer called the direction of the industry as a whole “disappointing” and said if he were still at the helm of the brand he once founded the Kardashian/Klein association would never have happened.
Of Jenner’s casting for CK underwear the 73-year-old fashion icon said: "I’m sure she’s a lovely young woman. It’s not the kind of thing I would have done, even today. Justin Bieber, yes.”
Klein says Bieber’s association with CK is justified because he’s a genuine talent – not a star born from the work of reality TV and social media spin doctors.
“When [I say] I like Justin Bieber in the Calvin Klein Underwear [campaign], it’s because I like him — not because he’s got millions of followers,” he explained. “Now, models are paid for how many followers they have. They’re booked not because they represent the essence of the designer, which is what I tried to do — they’re booked because of how many followers they have online. I don’t think that, long-term, is going to work. I don’t think that’s a great formula for success for the product you’re trying to sell.”
Klein, who sold the label to the Phillips-Van Heusen corporation in 2002, pre-social media, still knows a thing or two about fashion. He says social media used in the right way can be a powerful tool – but truly establishing yourself in fashion shouldn’t be a numbers game.
“If you take really exquisite photographs of the right people in the right clothes in the right location, and you put it online, that’s fine,” he said. “Just putting any old clothes on Kim Kardashian, long-term, isn’t going to do a thing.”
And when you think about it, Kate Moss doesn’t have Instagram so point taken, Mr Klein.
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Australian Women's WeeklyJan 23, 2020