CULTURE: The Beginning of Calvin Klein Jeans & #MyCalvins

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Calvin Kleins ads might be more ground breaking than his already unparalleled designs! With the debut of his latest campaign shot by Tyrone Lebon featuring one of the most dynamic casts I can think of (Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs, Princess Nokia, Fetty Wap and my darling friend/label mate Joey Bada$$)…I wanted to take a look back at all the incredible campaigns that Calvin Klein Jeans has had over the years!

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In 1978, Calvin Klein launched his denim line making him the first high-end designer to start a diffusion denim line. By 1979, he had sold 70 million dollars worth of women’s denim.

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Not only was Calvin Klein forward thinking when it came to fashion, but his ad campaigns were consistently edgy, sexy and provocative…especially his Calvin Klein Jeans ads.

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In 1981, 15 year old Brooke Shields, was cast for the first campaign which was shot by the impeccable Richard Avedon. In the commercial, Brooke asks “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing”. That subtle insinuation that she was wearing no underwear quickly got the commercial pulled from CBS and ABC. Damn Cal, you went there!

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In 1992, a 17 year old Kate Moss and Marky Mark debuted as the face for the campaign which was shot by legendary Herb Ritts. The photos were seen as controversial with Moss being underage and topless.

+++++imageIn 1995, Fashion Photographer Steven Meisel brought the seedy sexual campaign to life – depicting underage models in poses that “accidentally” showed their sexy-time parts. Not to mention, the setting felt like an 80’s basement – complete with wood paneling. The commercials were even seedier, they looked like bad VHS recordings and had a guy behind the camera “filming” while asking the models random and sexual questions…almost as if he was auditioning them for a naughty porno.

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In 1999, Calvin Klein featured some of Hip Hop’s Hotties like Foxy Brown and Left Eye.

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Spring 2009’s campaign, shot by iconic photographer Steven Meisel, featured models sprawled out and half dressed. Again, critics felt the campaign was inappropriate and seemed to suggest an orgy.

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In 2010, Lara Stone starred in a campaign that featured her with several male models – shot by Mert and Marcus. The billboards were banned in Australia as some previewed the ad to promote rape and violence.

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The 2011 campaign featured various models and musicians like Cassie and Rita Ora. The campaign seemed to have a better reception until some started to point out that this Lara Stone image, shot by Meisel, appeared to spell out the word “F*ck”…with the table as an F, a U formed by her bra, and the CK.

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It kind of looks like that was intentional, but its a reach. What do you think?

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In 2015, Bieber and Lara Stone emerged for the campaign which was shot by Mert and Marcus. This is also when the now current hashtag #MyCalvins debuted.  The main controversy that arose from this campaign were the leaked un-retouched images of Bieber that appeared to show major Photoshopping to bulk up Biebs. Both he and Klein insist it is untrue.

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