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Calvin Klein

American, b. 1942

Known for his minimalist, comfortable womenswear as well as a range of sexually provocative ad campaigns that continue to generate conversation decades later, Calvin Klein initially experienced the garment industry as a child in his grandmother’s New York City tailoring business. He would one day establish a global fashion brand — the Bronx native led the designer jeans craze of the late 1970s, and vintage Calvin Klein skirts, jackets, day dresses and shirts, frequently created in soft fabrics and understated neutral hues, are still versatile components of everyday wear.

Klein was born in 1942. He joined his mother on trips to designer discount store Loehmann’s and visited his grandmother's seamstress shop, where he was able to witness the particulars of clothing design in his youth. As a teen, Klein started making fashion sketches and attended the High School of Art and Design and the Art Students League of New York. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1963.

Klein worked with coat manufacturer Dan Millstein after his studies had concluded. In 1968, he partnered with his childhood friend, Barry Schwartz, and opened a small coat and dress shop in the York Hotel in Manhattan. Schwartz ran the business side of things while Klein took the reins on creative direction. The designer’s work was soon stocked at Bonwit Teller — and appeared in large ads in the New York Times — and in 1969, a model sported a Calvin Klein coat on the cover of Vogue.

During the 1970s, Klein added sportswear, lingerie, blazers and a range of stylish accessories to his lines of apparel. He became the youngest-ever recipient of the Coty American Fashion Critics' Award in 1973, winning again in both of the subsequent two years. 

Klein’s debut of his now-revered blue jeans in 1976 was somewhat of a failure — they were too expensive, and buyers complained about the fit. Late one night at Studio 54, the designer heard about the benefits that a licensing deal with apparel manufacturer Puritan Fashions might bring him. Two years later, Klein inked that deal and sold 200,000 pairs of his jeans, which were produced by Puritan, in a week.

A large percentage of Puritan’s sales in 1978 owed to Klein’s blue jeans. This streak with denim carried on into the 1980s, when Klein would be competing with the likes of Jordache, Gloria Vanderbilt and other labels. Klein’s jeans were promoted in scandalous ads featuring Brooke Shields and others that were banned by television stations and challenged by politicians. The decade saw the debut of successful men's and women's underwear collections designed by Klein that were also the subjects of steamy marketing campaigns. Soon, Calvin Klein expanded to 12,000 American stores and retail locations in six other countries.

Though profits declined in the early 1990s, Klein saved the business with successful underwear, sportswear and fragrance lines. More controversial ad campaigns with up-and-coming models and celebrities like Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg followed, also bringing fresh attention to the brand. In 2002, the Calvin Klein company was sold to Phillips Van Heusen Corp. Belgian designer Raf Simons was named chief creative officer at the brand in 2016.

On 1stDibs, find vintage Calvin Klein clothing, accessories and handbags.

Average Sold Price
$320
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CALVIN KLEIN Size XS Black Jersey Tank Bodycon Mini Dress
By Calvin Klein
Located in San Francisco, CA
CALVIN KLEIN dress in a black jersey material featuring a stretchy bodycon style, open back, and above knee length.Very Good Pre-Owned Condition. Minor hole on right side. Care and s...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Calvin Klein

F/W 1996 Calvin Klein Runway Asymmetric Bodycon Columnn Black Viscose Gown
By Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein
Located in West Hollywood, CA
With a variation debuting as Look 68 on the Fall/Winter 1996 Calvin Klein runway, modeled by Christina Kruse, this form-fitting black gown is a classic knockout. This stretch gown is...
Category

1990s American Calvin Klein

Magenta & White Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Mohair Knit Shrug Size US S
By Calvin Klein
Located in New York, NY
Magenta and white mohair knit shrug by Calvin Klein 205W39NYC. Diagonal striped pattern throughout. Crew neck. 40" bust, 17" shoulder width, 9.5" length.
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21st Century and Contemporary European Calvin Klein

CALVIN KLEIN Size L Black Polyester Zip Up Jacket
By Calvin Klein
Located in San Francisco, CA
CALVIN KLEIN jacket in a black polyester fabric featuring mesh lining, zipped pockets, and zip up closure.Very Good Pre-Owned Condition. Minor signs of wear. Marked: L Measurem...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Calvin Klein

CALVIN KLEIN Size 32 Faded Black Glenplaid Wool Polyester Dress Pants
By Calvin Klein
Located in San Francisco, CA
CALVIN KLEIN pants comes in a faded black and grey glenplaid wool and polyester blend woven featuring a high waist, regular fit, and a zip fly closure.Excellent Pre-Owned Condition. ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Calvin Klein

CALVIN KLEIN Size XXL Black Polyester Multi-Pockets Jacket
By Calvin Klein
Located in San Francisco, CA
CALVIN KLEIN jacket in a black polyester fabric featuring multiple pockets, hidden hood, and zip up and snap closure.Excellent Pre-Owned Condition. Marked: 2XL Measurements: ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Modernist Jeans
By Calvin Klein, Raf Simons
Located in Seattle, WA
Size: Listed size US 38 Condition: The piece is in gently used condition. Please refer to the pictures of the items for details. Please feels free to message us with any questions ...
Category

2010s American Calvin Klein

S/S 2016 Calvin Klein White Silk Gown with Bronze Loop Side Details
By Calvin Klein
Located in North Hollywood, CA
S/S 2016 Calvin Klein white silk long sleeve gown with open sleeves and bronze loop details at sides, with raw unfinished hem. Snap closures at shoulders. Fabric Contents: 100% Silk....
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2010s Calvin Klein

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Designers Similar to Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Calvin Klein fashion available on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of blue, purple, orange and other tones. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Rick Owens, Just Cavalli, and Calvin Klein Collection appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Calvin Klein fashion from top boutiques around the world. Calvin Klein fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $28 and tops out at $2,388, while the average work can sell for $394.
Questions About Calvin Klein
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 26, 2024
    Calvin Klein is famous for his work as a fashion designer. He is known for his minimalist, comfortable womenswear. During the 1970s, the American designer helped lead the denim craze, and he became the youngest-ever recipient of the Coty American Fashion Critics' Award in 1973. His jeans continued to dominate the market during the 1980s, a decade that also saw the Calvin Klein brand expand into men's and women's underwear. The brand Klein founded remains one of the best-known American fashion labels today. Shop a range of Calvin Klein apparel and accessories on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 21, 2024
    Calvin Klein is popular for a few reasons. Known for his minimalist, comfortable womenswear as well as a range of sexually provocative ad campaigns that continue to generate conversation decades later, Klein led the designer jeans craze of the late 1970s. The brand’s skirts, jackets, day dresses and shirts, sold at modest prices and frequently created in soft fabrics and understated neutral hues, are still versatile components of everyday wear. Controversial marketing helped broaden the label’s reach, too. During the 1980s, Klein’s jeans were promoted in scandalous ads featuring Brooke Shields and others that were banned by television stations and challenged by politicians. More eye-catching ad campaigns with up-and-coming models and celebrities like Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg followed in the ‘90s, also bringing fresh attention to the brand. On 1stDibs, shop a range of Calvin Klein apparel and accessories.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 13, 2024
    Yes, Calvin Klein is a good brand. Known for minimalist, comfortable womenswear as well as sexually provocative ad campaigns that continue to generate conversation decades later, Klein led the designer jeans craze of the late 1970s. The brand’s skirts, jackets, day dresses and shirts, sold at modest prices and frequently created in soft fabrics and understated neutral hues, are versatile components of everyday wear. Shop a range of Calvin Klein apparel and accessories on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 25, 2024
    Yes, Calvin Klein is considered designer. Generally, a designer brand is any that features pieces produced by a particular fashion designer. Calvin Klein fits the definition, having been founded by designer Calvin Klein in 1968. Following Klein's retirement in 2004, other designers, such as Eric Sedeño and Jessica Lomax, have served as creative directors for Calvin Klein. On 1stDibs, shop a selection of Calvin Klein apparel and accessories.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    The Calvin Klein brand is known for their sensual ads featuring well-known celebrities as well as for producing simple, understated fashions. Among the brand's most popular offerings are fragrances, men's underwear and jeans for men, women and children. Find a range of Calvin Klein apparel and accessories on 1stDibs.

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