good evening. good evening and welcome. it's a great pleasureto see you all here and it's reallya wonderful honor to have mr. klein here with us. i think, given the fact thatthere's so many of you here and there's so many amazingpeople who are actually outside who can't get in,i think that i don't really need to make an introduction.
because i suspect all ofyou know calvin klein, know his work,appreciate his work. he's clearly one of theicons of the fashion industry and has done so many amazingthings over the years. and we all know abouthis contribution to the fashion industry. perhaps something that maybemany others don't know so well how about mr. klein'swork is really his commitment, hisinterest from very early
on in the relationshipbetween fashion and situation or fashion and the setting. and this setting can beeither outdoor or indoor. it can really involvea lot of architecture, and i think thisinterconnection between fashion and architectureis something that has been a very important,very special part of his work. also beyond therelationship between fashion and architecture is really hisown passion for architecture,
which he has demonstratedthrough a lot of specific projects,which i hope we will get to see a few of them tonight. i really want to thank abyrosen and samantha boardman for their friendshipand for really making their first introductionto allow us to be together. and like all of you, i'mreally looking forward to hearing calvin klein. would you please join mein welcoming mr. klein.
[applause] thank you. thank you, dean mohsen. i'm really happy and excitedto be here, and especially, because as i had said earlier,i was fortunate enough to be seated next tomohsen at an art dinner that samantha and abyrosen invited me to. and mohsen and i got into thisdiscussion about architecture and how it related to mywork, and building a brand,
and all the differentthings that i've done throughout my career. and it was just a conversation. and that conversation hasled to what could be a book. i've done a lot of work andi've never really talked about the relationshipbetween what i've done and how architecture andinterior design and environment and landscape design plays suchan important roll in my work. and i've always loved workingwith different architects--
and i have to getused to showing you. and often, this photograph--most of you, i mean, you may know thename, but you probably don't know a lot of what i'vedone because you were probably children. i actually sold mybusiness 10 years ago, and so what i'm showing you iswork that i've done from 1968. this photograph wasmy apartment in 1975. the model, she's wearinga black vinyl trench
coat, black leatherboots, and clearly, there's an edge to the wayshe looks and you know, it's a little s&m.my apartment-- let me go to the nextslide-- my apartment was designed by a fellow. this was his second job. his name was, hisname is joe d'urso. i don't know if any of youknow who he is, but you should. this is the second job thathe did and he was brilliant
and we had a really greattime working together. everything in the apartmentwas black leather, charcoal gray, almostblack, industrial carpeting. furniture that wastubular chrome and walls that were lacquered. so everything, in thosedays, i was into shine. now, for many, manyyears, everything's matte. it has no finish andit's not child friendly. but in the 70's, thisisn't exactly the way
most people lived. that's my bedroom then. my bedroom was on a platformand you could see the pillows and the bedspread andeverything is all black leather. the table that thetv is sitting on, i also had a dining roomtable made the same way. it was designed by joe. and it's rubber. it's black rubber and the trimis all high polished chrome.
and the reflection-- i wouldhave flowers and branches and all kinds ofwonderful things sitting on this big dining table. and the reflectionof the rubber, which the housekeepershad to polish daily because if it hadto be perfect, was something pretty extraordinary. and working withjoe, joe d'urso, helped me to look atspace in a whole new way.
and again, we used theseindustrial materials. when you walkedin the front door, there was a closet for coatsand it was a hospital door. it was aluminum with a windowand it was an actual, like, for an operatingroom in a hospital. and so most of thematerials that we're used, i thought other peoplelived like this, but people were shocked. when they came tothis apartment,
they would actually say,you really live like that? and i wanted to show you someof the clothes that i've made. and i have very fewphotographs of the fashion because i want you to seethe woman who i was dressing and how it too relatesto architecture. i have this dichotomy. i love very sensual,soft fabrics that move on a woman'sbody or man's body. but i also love fabrics thathave structure and shape
and that you can do all sortsof interesting things with. and this is a coatthat's wrapped and folded and she's wearing askirt that matches it. and these are architectural. in the fashion world, we wouldsay the shape of her shoulder, the shape of the arm hole,the sleeve, and the curve to the waist is architectural. this is not architectural. and this is one of thelatest things i had
done before i left the company. and this is very soft andvery evening and glamorous. and i love that equallyas well, but this too was placed in an environment. it's in a space thatwe created because, although we did manythings against no seam in a photographer's studio,placing these clothes in spaces that helped create theimage that i was trying to convey to the worldabout what i was doing
and what we were making. and this is a photographthat goes back to-- it's brooke shields. it goes back to 1980. it's an iconic photograph. dick avedon took thephotograph and doon arbus, who is diane arbus' daughter,wrote the commercials. it was all about jeans andwe did print advertising and we did ontelevision commercials.
the commercials were hilarious. brooke, and she wasvery young, very young. and she was playingdifferent roles. and in this one, she says,you know what comes between me and my calvin's. the calvin's are the jeans. nothing. [laughter] that became-- andi'm talking, this
is 1980, that wasshocking to people. and it became something thatmadison avenue used like crazy. people were so inspiredbecause it said everything that i wanted to say which hadto do with beauty, sexuality, and jeans. jeans can be sexy,they could be-- i mean, i could go on andon about denim. i could tell you, we callhim mark wahlberg these days, but when i found him,his name was marky mark
and he was a rapper whocouldn't sell an album. and he told me hehad a pair of jeans for every date, firstdate, second date, this, that, you know. i was a great believerin outdoor advertising. fashion designers didn'tdo outdoor advertising because it was too commercial. and i liked the idea of reachinga lot of people, of being-- i think commercial is a goodword if you do something that's
valid, if you do something thathas value, and so forth and so on. and this is ajeans campaign that became really controversialbecause president clinton was running for office and therepublicans were talking then about family values. this was referred to ascalvin's porn campaign. the suggestion of thepurple shaggy rug, the knotty pine walls,you know, the idea
that maybe this is somesecret, downstairs basement, hidden place in somecheap home somewhere. and it was a satire. it was fun. i mean, one day-- i haveall the commercials. they are so funny, but we werethrown off the air overnight. same thing with brooke shields. in one day. we got so much publicity fromthe controversy and people used
to ask me all the time, are youtrying to create controversy? no. i was working withthe most gifted, talented people in the worldand we pushed the envelope. and these are all sides of me. everything that had myname on it from the day i started in 1968 until isold my business in 2003. i was involved from thevery beginning, middle, end with every product andevery photograph, every model.
and at night, i wouldtake these things home and edit the pictures. there was a reason why i calledmy first perfume obsession. so ok, we get passed the--i show you this photograph because she was thelast young woman that i put under contract. she's a russian beauty. natalia. she was just incredible.
and she was just asgorgeous wearing the genes as she was wearing allthe clothes that she wore in our photographs. the introduction of underwear. this was launched in 1982 andhere is in another example, and i think a really goodexample, of architecture and how architecture playedsuch an important role in creating the image that i wastrying to convey to the world. we knew we were going tointroduce men's, and later on,
women's underwear. and we were shooting lots ofother things, clothing, this, that, jeans, everything. and we went to santorini,greece because of the light, because of the architecture,because everything's white and gorgeous. and then, i was driving along,which was typical of me, i was driving alongsunset boulevard and i saw this fellow runningand i stopped the car.
i stopped him and introducedmyself and i said, i'm calvin klein. i said, who are you? what do you do? he said, i'm in school. he says, i'm a triathlete. i said, have you ever modeled? i said, i have an idea. now when we put tom, tomhintnaus is his name.
when we put tom against thisshape, and clearly the shape, it's architectural,it's phallic, it's absolutely gorgeous. and the blue sky, amazing. had we photographed himagainst no seam in a studio, it would be nothing. it would be a zero. so design, architecture,fashion, all these things relate.
fragrance, it all relates. and here's another exampleof a wonderful photograph from santorini fromthat particular trip. and again, the architecture. and that was whensantorini was great. you don't want to go there now. the introduction of fragrance. one of the things that i lovedabout being a fashion designer, and i didn't know thiswhen i was in school,
was that it would give methe opportunity to one day decide-- a company called revlontried to sign me to do perfume and i thought, i don't thinki could work with them. and i decided to open up my owncosmetic and fragrance company. i thought, when it came tocreating the images to convey to the world of what we'recreating, of the products that we're creating,i would have to explain it to amadison avenue agency and they are not goingto really understand me.
and i thought, uh-uh. i'm going to openup my own agency. and so i had anin-house agency where we did all of the media,all the creative, and all of the placementsof all the ads. and we were actually amid-size madison avenue agency at that time. the fragrance business becamelike about $800 million business alone.
and when i was in school,if you were a designer and you had one perfume,you were in heaven. and we had one afteranother of success. and the idea-- i had writersmake lists of names for me because i would choose thenames, design the bottles, choose the photographer. and we did market research onwhat we thought was trending. and this was duringthe studio 54 days, which was all aboutsex, drugs, and rock and roll.
and so, very sexyfragrance was the trend that was going to bethe next new trend. and so, it's all aboutthis one woman and men. it's kind of an orgy andthey're all obsessed with her. this is anotherexample of the use of the body and architecture. in the fragrance business,you make creams and lotions all with the same scent becauseyou don't want to mix scents. so it represents a smallpart of the business,
but i needed to do somethingthat people would notice. and we went tomiami-- south beach, and found the top of thisbuilding, this art deco building, and didthis photograph and it was a big success. then, it was interesting,because obsession, that fragrance, thesales started to slip. and fragrance company called mein, desperate, and they said, you have to do something.
and i thought, i don't know. what am i going to do. and i had this idea ofthis actress, this french, young at that time,actress, vanessa paradis, who, i thought, representeda different kind of a woman than the models of that moment. and she wouldn't do it. and so a photographer calledme and he said someone just walked into his studio.
he says, i think i foundjust who you're looking for. her name is kate moss. and sure enough, shecomes into my office and she shows me herpersonal photographs that her boyfriend,mario sorrenti, who's a really wonderfulphotographer-- these photographs he took ofher, they're private, no one's supposed to see them. and i'm looking at them andgoing, oh my god, this is it.
this is it. and i said, he isobsessed with her. this is what thisfragrance is about. and i said, i'm sending thetwo of you to an island. you just go and photographher until you're sick. and the interesting thing withadvertising is, you can tell. i mean the sales started tofly and we had real concerns because the fragrance was notdoing well and that did it. the whole thing did it.
and again, all ofthese fragrances were always tied to my life. we did market studies, weknew where it was trending, but i've always made itpersonal because i felt i always wanted people toknow that there is a designer behind all of thesethings that we're making. this turned out to be thebiggest perfume, and probably still is, that we everdid, called eternity. and i fell in lovewith a young woman
who walked into myoffice for a job one day and that's christy turlington. and kelly, my now ex-wife butbest friend in the whole world, kelly looks like christy. the young man there is supposedto be me about 100 years ago. and eternity-- inthose days, when you were selling men'sfragrance, it was tough, macho. that's the way you solda cologne to a man. and my sense was, ah,times are changing.
men want to be parents. men want to raise children. they want to be a partner inthe relationship with their wife and raise the children together. and there's a tenderness thatwe showed and eternity for men was, like, even biggerthan the women's. and we brought childreninto it, which you didn't use children to sell perfume. but eternity, the ideathat life goes on,
and it goes on through,obviously, children. then this one wasanother amazing success. ck one. here, we sat around-- wewere really so successful in the fragrance world-- wesat around a conference table. and this is a lesson, i think,to all of you, and we said, what do we do now? how do we outdo ourselves? and so what we decided was,let's break all the rules.
let's do everythingthe way no one does it. and this, the inspiration,came from the fact kelly used to-- if i waswearing a white shirt, she'd want to wearmy white shirt. and everything thati wore, she wanted to borrow it and wear it. and i thought, there'ssomething to this. and the word unisex cameto my mind and i thought, that's a bad word.
but sharing was aword that i liked. and the idea that you could--this was the anti-perfume. we didn't make a perfume bottle. we only made cologne. and that's where allthe business is anyway. and we made cologne in a bottlethat looks like a hip flask. it's nothing to do with perfume. and it was on fire. and this was all over theworld and we launched this
all over the worldfor the first time. and the people,they had piercings, they had tattoos everywhere. they weren't really models. they were just people. we sent casting peopleall over the world, actually, to find-- i alwayslike to find new talent. i like to discover models. the first photograph ishowed you with joe d'urso,
he had done only one otherjob before he worked with me. later, you'll see somethingfrom the architect john pawson, the store that he did for me. that was like one of his first. i love working withpeople who are not famous and haven't done lots of things. and it gives me theopportunity to work closely to get what my vision isand i know what i want. here's another, just anotherphotograph from ck one.
this is a whole other story, butagain, it's about architecture. now, normally, in thosedays in print advertising, you ran a single page in amagazine or a double page spread. and i decided, for meto tell the stories that i wanted to tell, it tookme sometimes eight, 10 pages. this one was 27 pages. i mean, peoplethought i was crazy. and we opened not withproducts, not with clothes.
we opened with georgiao'keeffe's courtyard in santa fe at abiquiu,one of her houses. because to me, the architectureand the colors and the form said everything that iwanted to say about the work that i was doing at that moment. i also wanted peopleto know that there was a person behind all ofthis product and everything, and so bruce weber, who did thisshoot, took this portrait of me in the corner ofo'keeffe's ghost ranch.
this is a shot ofthe clothes and this was at the taos pueblo. and lisa taylor then was oneof the most important, gorgeous models of her time,is wearing a suede, nail headed-- it's studdedwith nail heads, and then a silk kimono. and so it's the tonesand it's the texture and how it relatesto the color and all of the texture and theshapes in santa fe.
here's another example atthe pueblo of the model where he's very strong. he's wearing darksuit, dark shirt, against these incrediblearchitectural shapes in santa fe that existnowhere in the world because it comes from the earth. i mean, all of thearchitecture, it comes right out of the earth. this is another portrait ofme at o'keeffe's ghost ranch.
this is a photograph,and i'm only showing you one because godknows, i've checked myself. i don't want to run out of time. but one of the greatest, ibelieve, mexican architects, was luis barragan. and i was fortunate enoughto be able to photograph campaigns at housesthat barragan designed. and for me, he wasan absolute genius. this is to bring, onceagain, a sense of how i live.
this is a housein miami which was built in the 1920s,spanish style house. i stripped it to its minimum. the floors are amoroccan plaster. it's called tadelakt. they've been using it inmorocco for hundreds of years. the walls, i broughtpeople in from antwerp to do lime plasteron all the walls inside and outside the house.
and we lined thewood, the beams. the beams i chose, ifound in long island city and it was never part ofthe house, but it worked. and this is it justanother example of the simplicity,the minimalism and yet the farm table is 17thcentury french, that's on the left with pottery on top. and then thecupboard on the right is another 19th centurypiece that i love.
and these pieces, i find, workso well in a minimal space a minimal, contemporary space. here's another shotof-- you don't really get the sense of thetexture on the wall, so i won't spend time on that. but this is my bedroom,this particular house and once again, the floor,there's no finish on anything. there's no shine,there's no finish. it's all matte.
this is a photograph from whenwe went into the home business, making everythingfrom soft home, which is everything thatgoes on a bed, to bathroom towels, thingsthat go into the bathroom, as well as tabletop, dinnerware,flatware, glassware, all of that. and i chose tophotograph our first home shoot at donald judd'ssanctuary in marfa, texas. it's one of the mostamazing places in the world.
it's an absolute dream. and this we launched in 1995. this is another photographof the kind of-- and even though i wouldshow our home products in a very minimal, contemporaryspace, people bought them. they were successful and theywould have traditional homes, not, they weren't livingthe way i like to live. here are some morephotographs of how we've conveyed the connectionbetween the products
that we were creating for thehome and the architecture, interesting contemporaryarchitecture. this is a store, thecalvin klein store, that we opened onmadison avenue. john pawson had doneone or two things before-- british architect,wonderful architect. and he and i worked veryclosely together on this store and then i brought joe d'urso inwho was from the very beginning because joe haddone retail work.
and when you'rebuilding a store, how you divide the space,i mean, if you have, for instance, ashoe department, you can't have the stockroomfive minutes away from where the shoes are becausepeople don't want to wait. so somehow you have tothink, as an architect, you have to dividespace in a way that is practical andreally, really works. this is anotherphotograph from the store.
it's the ground floormezzanine and then there's the third floor. and i love just seeing aslice of the other floors. and this is another exampleof a slice in a wall and then puttingproduct in that space. this is the store that wedid in korea, in seoul. and it was verybeautiful inside. same, very similarkind of feeling. this is my design studio nowin new york on 25th street.
i worked with richardgluckman on this and richard is justan angel to work with. the table is steel. the chairs, verydonald judd, are wood. these, on the left, it'sall steel, cement floors and the doors open this way. and it's really interesting,the way the doors open, the hinging and everythingis so well thought out. and inside is thelibrary of books
that i've worked on, collected,and materials, fabrics, leather, you name it. this is the last majorproject that i've worked on and this is my housein southampton. i worked with twodifferent architects, but i had a clear view in mymind of what this was to be. this is the front entrance. outside of the house is wood. it's a mahogany then we put ajapanese, almost black, stain
on the mahogany. all the glass that yousee on the main floor, on the first floor-- 14feet high, the panels, by seven feet wide. they disappear andthey slide and go behind these blackpanels of wood. and the upstairs is 11feet tall, the ceiling. this is the front entrance,when you walk in the front door. it's double height.
the spheres are stone that werehand carved in 17th century, french. they were a spiritualexperience surrounding a monastery in france. here's another shot at them. they are the colorof the wood floors. they're the color ofthe beach, of the sand. this is anothershot of the house and the whole point is thatthe structure of the house
is in these piers. the glass surrounds theoutside of the structure and there are fivepiers in the house. i think five, or maybe four. and all the doors disappear. and so you're living-- here,a good example in the living room. one side, the glassdoors are gone. the other side,they're still in place.
and so you're livinginside or outside. it's the way i wantedto live at the beach. i collect a numberof different things. antiquities, going backanywhere from 3,000 years ago to mid century pieces, like thislamp, which is very special, moet lamp and the tablesare from rick owens, who's a really amazingfashion designer and it has to steel top. these are objectsthat go back-- they're
bactrian, which is now partof what we call afghanistan, that whole region. and i love the mix of theseshapes, whether they're ancient or not. and this is anothervery old piece. it's torso. this is an example of whenthe doors, the glass doors, disappear and you seethe ocean from one side, and everywhere inthe house, you see
the ocean or shinnecockbay, which is on the other side of the house. and you see right through it. something, a head that ibought maybe 40 years ago. this is a tableand i show you this because i have a passionfor prouve and his work. and the chairs,jeanneret, i believe. and then the artifactis an old piece. this is a torso that's inmy apartment in new york.
it's second century rome, a.d. this is another. this is part of the breakfastroom with the glass panels disappearing. the staircase leadingupstairs to the second floor. these panels, it's blackwood that was all stained. most of the houseis very loft-like, but where i needed privacy,i created these huge doors that pivot and so they createa shape unto themselves.
this is my bedroom andthat's a young woman who we put in thephotograph just so one could get a senseof proportion and height. the desk is-- here's anotherphotograph of the desk. it's corbusier, anotherabsolute great and mid century. this is not that old. it was from the 1940s, asculptor, japanese sculptor, and for me, it has a simplicityand a minimalism that i love. this is a shotof-- because there
isn't time to show youeverything in the house, obviously. but the pool is 10 feet aboveground at one end and water flows on all threesides of the pool. and it's cement, so youhave this shimmering water going over the cement. and then if you swimtoward the ocean, you meet, at theother end of the pool, you are at the levelof the [inaudible].
this is another area whichwas inspired by donald judd. and it's a place where has abig, long kind of table, picnic table, which it's protectedfrom the wind, that's the main reason for that. and this is my lastshot of the house, just to give you just anotherview of it from the outside, including the guest house,which is off in the rear. and it's a fourbedroom guesthouse. and that, i think,gives you a sense
of how i feel aboutarchitecture, how i feel about antiquities,and to mid century furniture and how it all relates tothe work that i've done, whether it be fragrance,fashion, cosmetics, you know, jeans, everything. it all ties togetherand i hope you get a sense of that through whati've been able to show you here this evening. and now i'd love to hearfrom you guys, any questions
that you might have. so, maybe, there aremicrophones that are around, and so if i could get a fewhands, there's one here. can i get a few hands? please, go on. thank you very much, mr. klein,for coming and being here with us tonight. let's hear it formr. klein again. this is awesome.
when are you coming out withyour landscaper/apprentice stonemason line, becausei want to model it. [laughs] i have such respectfor-- i mean, i worked on thelandscaping of this house. you have no idea. i actually showed them howi wanted the beach grass to be planted,because they planted each thing of beachgrass like it was a hair
transplant in the old days. and i got a truck andthen i grabbed as much as i could and i just threw it. and i said to people whowere planting, i said, wherever this has landed,put it in the ground, and then place trees and bushes. i have enormous respectfor the relationship of how important the landscapingis to the architecture. any other questions?
one thing that i was-- as youstart explaining the projects, and you did say about obsession,and the kind of commitment that it takes to doing things. and now with the house,there's a level of attention to detail, which is phenomenal. but i also get the feelingthat so much of that is to do with the process, like,the work that goes into it. are you now kind of comfortableto live in the house? because i get the sensethat the energy is
about the doing of the work. and so, the house looksso perfect, that in a way, kind of living in it islike ruining it somehow. no, no, no, no. it's not ruining it,but sometimes, it's more extensive, actually,than what i've showed you. and sometimes i walk aroundand i think, this is my fault. i did this. you know.
i've only myself to blame. and what it is is, for me,when i get involved in a design project, i'm so focusedon creating whatever it is we're creating thati'm really not thinking about living in it. but i've lived in somespaces that i really love and i do love. i like space and i love light. to me, light and spaceis the great luxury.
and everywhere i've lived,i've always lived on the ocean. in new york, i liveon the hudson river. i have a thing for waterand sky and light and space. and no, i'm happy there. but didn't you have a housethat you-- this was like, there was a house on the site, right? and you bought that andyou did the renovation and then you, in the end,still demolished the house? no, no, no.
what happened is, originallyit was the dupont estate. and unfortunately itwas a wonderful house that got ruined bypeople who owned it. and someone turnedit into disneyland. think of the castlewith turrets. there were eightturrets all around, like some person needed tobe a king in his castle. and i bought it. it made me ill to walk onthe beach and actually think,
i own this. and what am i goingto do with it? a good friend of mine who youprobably may know, bob wilson. bob used to come to thehouse and say, it's so great. i love it so much. and other people wouldsay, oh it's funny. and i'd say, well it's funnyfor you, but not for me. and i needed-- so i torethat house down and then what i did do, which people thoughti was building the house,
i built a full scalemodel of this one. not-- was that less expensive? it was-- it was-- but, i i needed to know ifthe height of the floor should be 13 feet or 14 feetor-- i can't tell, always, from floor plans. and so, we didn'tbuild a whole house, but we built enoughof the structure
so that i can see the sizeand the space of every room and then we went from there. then we tore thatdown and people thought, oh, he's really crazyand then started to build. and how did thebeginning of this idea of using fashion models andthe setting start for you? i mean, i know you saidyou were interested in that from the beginning, butto actually kind of-- the only way you canshow-- i started out
as a designer ofwomen's clothes. and the only way to show women'sclothes, after all these years, is on a woman. and seeing her reallymove is the best way and that's why thereare still fashion shows. but otherwise, youconvey it in print. but then i thought oh, we cando a lot more interesting things than just showing a womanwearing a dress in print. and we have an opportunityto create excitement
and to really have peopletake notice and think, like, what's going on? and also, i've alwaysbelieved that, especially, i was gearing my worktoward young people, and they wanted what theywere told they couldn't wear. you know, if it wasdenim or whatever it was, if their parents' said no, thenwe sold product like crazy. and somehow it translated,fortunately into fragrance, into underwear, it translatedinto most of what i've done.
any questions from the audience? is there anything youguys want to know? ask me anything. hand here, hand here. don't say that. why don't we go here. all right, you choose. you go first, yeah. can you stand up?
please. so we can see. how do you reconcile-- sinceyou said that you have a vision and you have to keep thatvision and get to that place, how do reconciling handingthat off to an architect, or to what extent do you hand thatoff so as to make it a reality? i don't hand it off. i never hand it off. what about your first apartment?
i work on every detail with anyarchitect that i've worked with or any interior designer. i've, as i said, with allthe advertising campaigns, i chose the locations, thephotographers, the models. i edited the film myself. i think i know what i want to. all right, go ahead, yes. you mentioned s&m earlier--
can you-- no, no. you need a mic. can you-- there's a person here. let him ask the questionand then afterwards. matt, can you givethe mic over there? speaking of knowingwhat you want, i was curious if you couldtalk a little bit more about your creative process. because we saw the beautifulend results of your house
after you've put allthe pieces in place. do you start with an artifact? do you start with an image? do you start with the a word? or, how do you go aboutgetting to what we see now? that's an easy one. when i became, when kellyand i, my ex-wife, separated, she lives in amagnificent house. it was the juan trippeestate that-- juan trippe
created pan american airlines. and it's on the ocean,11 acres on the ocean. and it's also on georgicapond, so it's got everything. it's an amazing place. and people said, well whydon't you just redo that house? and i said, i can'tbuild a new house that's supposed to look old. but i had in mind howthat house worked. and i had also lived in thiscrazy castle for a few summers,
so i really got a feeling oflight and how that would work. and it's a processand it took time. thank you, mr. klein. the first slide, youmention the word s&m and i was wondering whatyour introduction was to that and how you educated yourselfand if that carried over to other parts of your life. that's very personal. just, it seemed like astrong theme early on.
and did i seem like what? you said there wasanything was fair game. [laughter] oh, no. it's fine. you could ask anything you want. it's not s&m, it's justthat it's black leather and it was very industrial. and it was, for somepeople, it was scary.
i mean, and it was also onthe 46th floor of an apartment building in new yorkand it was a shocker. but i'll never forget a name,that i don't know if any of you know, elsa peretti, thejewelry designer, brilliant, incredible jewelry. and then when she came tothe apartment first time, she just went insane. she just thoughtit was so special. so it isn't-- to putlabels on things,
i don't think isreally a good idea. i said that because it's kindof obvious, but you know, she's wearing avinyl trench coat. big deal. there was a question. yes, please. your mic is not on. ok. so i have a question.
so i know that you'revery successful at selling underwear, but iwas thinking that, for other people, like ifi were a ceo of a company, i would be like worriedabout selling underwear because it can be commoditized. and also, like if you'rewearing calvin klein underwear, it's very hard to makea fashion statement because not everyone can see it. because i see that like inyour advertisement campaign,
you emphasize that by choosinghow you position the angle to shoot that advertisement andhow to wear just the underwear and nothing else,but people would not dress like thaton a daily basis. so are you at all like worriedthat your marketing campaign would not be thatsuccessful at all? i never worried thatthe campaign-- i didn't. i could tell. i remember that shotlike it was yesterday.
and when we placed him againstthis architectural shape, i saw money in the bank. yeah. so out of listeningto you today, you sound so passionate,so involved, so intimate, so obsessed with your work. that strikes meprofoundly that you chose to sell your companyand your name and your brand. may i ask you, howdid that happen?
the business got very big,became a global business and i was moreinvolved than i cared to be in the management ofthe business, the business side of it. i mean, i could spend the restof my life in design rooms and working with design teams. but it got so bigand overwhelming and i startedthinking, you know, i've given my wholelife to this work.
there's a whole world out there. when you're notcreating clothes, you really realize thatclothes are maybe not the most important thingin the whole world. and i started going to africa,to ethiopia, to different parts of africa and india. i've been doing thingsthat are more personal. i've worked with schools. i'm speaking to groups.
so i'm doing things that arereally, really interesting to me and truthfully, therewas no one in my family-- i did not want to gopublic-- and there was no one in my family thatwas ever interested in fashion business and so it justwas the right time. there were-- yes, please. actually, i had arelated question. after you sold yourbusiness, i mean, your name still carries on.
and the amount ofeffort and the amount of detail you've shown that youtake in pride, some may even call you sort of aperfectionist, so to speak. when you see your name being,your label still continuing on and you have no controlabout the sort of the quality or the design sense, how doesthat make you feel, letting go and how do you let go? and how do you see the legacyof the label living on? that's a really tough one anda really interesting question
and a difficult one. you have to come, or at least ihad to come, to the realization that i must let go becausei'm no longer in control. i was for a periodof a few years where i worked with thecompany to transition out, but i chose not tostay with the company because unless i could runit the way i always ran it, i didn't want tobe a part of it. and letting go is tough andit's not just with work,
it's with anything in life. but if you can't controlit, what choice do you have? the only choice thenis to be miserable and that's notsomething i want to be. i want to be happy andfeel good about life. there are a few more questions. that's a really greatmoment to stop by, but maybe i let youask one or two more. yes, here, please.
well, mr. klein, iguess i'll just start-- where are you? over here. the tall dude in the back. oh, yes. how's it going? you kind of answeredthe questions that i had with yourlast two answers. but i guess i'lljust start by saying,
you're a much cooler dudethan i thought two hours ago. two hours ago, i just thoughtyou were the guy whose name was on my white boxers that ihad at home, but i guess, i just want to dumbit down a little. are you happier, like nowthat you sold your company? am i happier now thati sold my company? my happiness really hasnothing to do with the fact that i sold the company. it has to do withenjoying my life every day
and doing somethingthat's of value. i work with a charter schoolin harlem and quite frankly, i work with-- i did a wholeimaging thing for them. website, uniforms,we did amazing things for these really young childrenwho've been abused, who have, if they're lucky,maybe a grandparent taking care of them. and i spoke to a class. it was fifth grade class.
and these children askedme the best questions i've ever been asked. and i've spoken to cambridgeand all over the world. because it was soemotional knowing what their lives arelike and they're finally given an opportunity throughthis charter school system to maybe have a chance in lifeand they have so much going against them that icould be of some help gives me the greatestpleasure in the world.
calvin, you're the man. good evening mr. klein. you get to askthe last question. so while i find theimages, particularly the advertisements,incredibly beautiful, also hearing you talkabout your good works, i wonder if you'dlike to comment on fashion's contribution tothe sexual objectification of the human body and how youfeel regarding that topic.
how i feel about? how fashion sexually objectifieshuman form, both women and men, as sexual objects. i don't think offashion that way. i think of clothes,creating clothes to make people feelgood and look good. and i think if youcould put clothes on that make you feel, whetherit's younger, sexier, just makes you feel wonderful, that'swhat what we're striving for.
it's not aboutobjectifying anything. it's really abouttrying to create something that could bringsome value into someone's life. calvin, this is avery mixed audience. they're not onlydesign school students, so you should know that. no, no. i think it's important. it's important that you knowthat it's a mixed audience.
and i think it'salso interesting that a lot of the questionsrelate to your happiness. i think it's aninteresting thing because in the contextof a design school, you know we are at a situationwhere a lot of architects or landscape architects or urbandesigners who are doing things, they're also interested in theidea of how to construct value. i mean, just in termsof the ethics of things, in terms of thequality of things,
but also monetary value. the value of things,which is very important because generallythe work of architects is underrated. and so it's very empoweringto understand really the kind of the totalityof the enterprise that you have beeninvolved with in terms of presenting abody of work, which is very, very inspiring in manyways for people to kind of see.
i think also sort ofone of the reasons that people are concerned aboutyour happiness is that they can see that you have done so manythings and that now i think, with the architecture,you're really onto something. you've worked withso many people. you've acted as animportant patron. but through that process, you'vealso now developed, really, a body of your ownarchitectural work, starting with theselection of sites
now with the house, which isvery, very, very much yours. so i think it's reallyimportant for us to have the opportunity,maybe even in the future, to find out aboutthat part of the work because i thinkit's developing now to become really a sort ofspecific body of architecture in some ways. and so i reallywant to thank you for what you've done tonight andfor speaking to us and for all
the inspiration. thank you so much.