Calvin Klein Spring 2018 runway show at New York Fashion Week
Fashion Week

Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Spring 2018

Raf Simons' American dream has turned into an American nightmare
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Last season, the designer looked to the country's youth for inspiration for his inaugural debut as Calvin Klein's chief creative officer. The result? A collection rife with classic American tropes – think sheriff's jackets, band uniforms, cowboy boots, and Wall Streets suits. It was eclectic, for sure; made to represent "the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself".

Fast forward a couple of months. For Spring 2018, things have taken a decidedly more macarbe twist. Under Sterling Ruby’s installation (complete with multicoloured fringe, metal buckets, and dangling axes), models strutted down the runway in iterations of Simons' American Horror: floaty cotton nightgowns branded with black and white prints from Andy Warhol’s 'Death and Disaster Series', rubber separates, and paint- (or perhaps blood) splattered vinyl raincoats straight out of American Pyscho.

“It’s about American horror and American beauty. Fashion tries to hide the horror and embrace only beauty. But they are both a part of life. This collection is a celebration of that: a celebration of American life.” – Raf Simons

But there is never any horror without beauty. Where there was darkness, there were also facets of the ever-inspiring American dream. Mid-century couture silhouettes rendered in industrial nylon and hand-painted leather; two-tone cowboy shirts paired with contrasting trousers or pencil skirts; and fringe (lots of multi-coloured fringe). “It’s about American horror and American beauty,” said Simons. “Fashion tries to hide the horror and embrace only beauty. But they are both a part of life. This collection is a celebration of that: a celebration of American life.”

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