Calvin Klein Designers Defend Controversial Billboard

Calvin Klein has been stirring up a fair bit of controversy recently thanks to a particularly salacious billboard on Houston Street. The image is from a Steven Meisel-shot ad campaign that debuted in January as an especially racy (and subsequently banned) television commercial, which can best be described as a denim-clad orgy. While tut-tutting New Yorkers have filed complaints against the advertisement, Calvin Klein’s own designers think the racy billboard should stay put.

New York magazine caught up with both Calvin Klein’s menswear designer Italo Zucchelli and womenswear designer Francisco Costa at the CFDA’s annual awards ceremony Sunday night (the former took this year’s honor of Menswear Designer of the Year, while Costa took the same title for Womenswear last year) and found out that both stand behind the sex-charged ad. Zucchelli sees it as totally on point with Calvin Klein’s image: “I think it is a fantastic campaign. That is what Calvin Klein Jeans is supposed to be. Everyone needs to be scandalized and screaming. That is what we want.” And in Costa’s opinion, it can only help the brand’s image … especially with tourists: “I think they’ll see that and walk right into our store. I think tourists have great sensibility. That’s why they’re tourists. They’re voyeurs.”

Fashion Mafia Pays Tribute to New Garde

The CFDA held its annual awards ceremony in New York last night, honoring a rising generation of fashion power players, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama (who accepted the commendation of Board of Directors’ Special Tribute via satellite). CFDA President Diane Von Furstenberg held court, while Tracey Ullman hosted. The latter opened the ceremony with a Keifer Sutherland head-butting joke, which garnered only “weak laughter,” says Fashionologie. It probably didn’t help matters that Jack McCollough, half of the design team behind Proenza Schouler (who won the title of Accessories Designer of the Year) and the recipient of said head-butt post-Costume Gala, was in attendance.

As for the other winners:

Popular Vote Award: Ralph Lauren Menswear Designer of the Year: a tie between Italo Zucchelli (Calvin Klein) and Scott Sternberg (Band of Outsiders) Womenswear Designer of the Year: Alexander Wang Swarovski Award for Menswear: Tim Hamilton Swarovski Award for Womenswear: Alexander Wang Swarovski Award for Accessories: Justin Giunta for Subversive Jewelry Womenswear Designer of the Year: Rodarte

All in all, there weren’t too many surprises. But the honors awarded do solidify Justin Giunta and Tim Hamilton’s rising stars within the fashion industry, not to mention the fact that Rodarte beat out both Marc Jacobs (a runner-up for Womenswear last year as well) and Narciso Rodriguez shows that the industry is hungry for new blood. Also of note: Alexander Wang’s tux alternative (which included Comme des Garçons shorts and a Helmut Lang tuxedo jacket), an invasion of togas (a trend Kate Moss no doubt helped spearhead with her Costume Gala ensemble), and Jack White in a brown plaid suit (which most likely won’t be spawning a sea of followers).