Welcome to the new golden age of fashion advertising
This is the first project of Jacob Jordan, an Apple and Thom Browne and Vuitton alumnus who joined the brand full-time in March 2020 as Global Market Manager and Product Strategist. Asked about the connection between The Preston Project and his own role, Jordan said the brand’s heritage “is always so important. And not just for us as a brand, but we think it’s still very important to the consumer. So how do we take this DNA and reinvent it? In the past Calvin Klein was so associated with sensuality and youthful spirit and like all of those things. So what does this mean now?
As a result, rather than clothes, the keystone of the project is a monumental campaign featuring vibrant video and footage by Renell Medrano. Like the brand’s original and much-loved iconography, featuring Kate Moss and Marky Mark in their underwear, it’s cast meticulously and almost stunningly, with Lil Uzi Vert freestyling, Nas peeling an orange, Kaia Gerber seated. in the bathroom in underwear, more others like GQ contributor Joe Holder, Preston himself and skater Stevie Williams. Oh, and famous model Ashley Graham! He’s got that ranch house, that rug shag vibe, but without the creepy perversity of the famous Bruce Weber photos. (For this vibe, see ERL.) Simons did a bit of that too – remember when he put the Kardashians in the barn? But it was, well, a little too intellectual to be a real CK. The genius of Calvin Klein’s advertisements was their absolute and straightforward simplicity. Preston’s clothing is tailor-made to support the creation of this imagery. These are clothes for an epic campaign.
Maybe we are entering a new golden age of fashion advertising. The brands seem optimistic about the image possibilities. Last weekend, Balenciaga released a pre-fall collection with a video showing none of their clothing, but rather a series of clips scientifically proven to make viewers happy. He was utterly, mightily demented, playing with the overarching, sinister, and vague vocabulary used by nearly every tech company these days. More optimistic was the first campaign launched by Los Angeles brand Rhude, featuring Future in the brand’s spiffy streetwear. Rhude has a billboard in LA, but otherwise they don’t have distribution plans for the images, which fall somewhere between a magazine editorial and a lookbook. The photo of the future is an advertisement.
In a way, Calvin Klein was the first brand where clothes were the least important part. This is increasingly the industry standard. Preston described going through the archives and finding not only clothes, but a chair, perfume, a whole piece of campaign images and fan letters to Calvin. “It was like a museum,” he says. And with that in mind, he created the perfect type of capsule collection for our time: very sophisticated museum products.
This story has been updated.
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