Calvin Klein Launches New Art-Themed Ad Campaign

Say goodbye to the brief-wearing muscle men.

Sterling Ruby FLAG (4791) (2014). Photo: courtesy of PVH.

Yes, Calvin Klein’s latest ad campaign features models in underwear—nothing new here. But contrary to the sexually charged imagery that has come to define the iconic American brand, the new ads depict models posing in front of works by American contemporary artists.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign. Photo: courtesy of PVH.

Dan Flavin Monument For V. Tatlin (1964). Photo: courtesy of Calvin Klein.

A group of men in briefs look at a Sterling Ruby tapestry, a man in boxers admires an Andy Warhol silkscreen, and a man in underpants poses in front of a Dan Flavin light piece. Other shots depict a jean wearing couple embracing in front of an Andy Warhol work, and a denim clad woman smiling in front of a Richard Prince painting.

New creative director Raf Simons enlisted photographer Willy Vanderperre to shoot the new campaign in American institutions such as the Rubell Family Collection in Miami and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign. Photo: courtesy of PVH.

Richard Prince I Changed My Name (1988). Photo: courtesy of Calvin Klein.

The new Belgian boss also hired Peter Saville to redesign the brand logo in line with its new pared down identity. The message is clear—minimalism is on the horizon, and art is cool. An entirely new direction following decades of distinctive ads featuring muscle-bound men in their drawers, and svelte models in underwear.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign. Photo: courtesy of PVH.

Andy Warhol Ambulance Disaster (1963-64). Photo: courtesy of Calvin Klein.

Unsurprisingly, Simons is also a big-time art collector. As artnet News reported in May 2015, he owns works by Evan Holloway, Mike Kelley, Brian Calvin, and Sterling Ruby—who also happens to be a friend and sometimes-collaborator. Ruby’s spray paint works were also the inspiration behind the printed dresses from Simons’ first couture collection for Dior.

Of course this isn’t the first time art and fashion has gone hand-in-hand. Former Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane based his women’s fall 2014 line on John Baldessari, and his men’s spring 2016 line on the paintings of LA artist Billy Al Bengston.


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