The appointment of Raf Simons as CALVIN KLEIN’s Chief Creative Officer ushered in a new era for the modern American fashion empire. The legacy of the house’s tradition of relishing in both the classic and casual has not been turned on its head, but rather been given room to breathe and flourish with a new guard of ideas parading in via the headquarters in NYC. In his first collection for CALVIN KLEIN, Raf Simons celebrates Americana and the complex fabric of our past coming together to form the future generation. The workmanship in each piece tells the story of a group effort—the wild west frontiersman, a community of folk artists, urban movers and shakers—and it all comes together through the eyes of an artist just outside the world he observed.

To celebrate the debut of CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC, formerly known as Calvin Klein Collection, we cast a trifecta of creative women who are paving their way through New York City, imprinting their own unique voices as they learn and grow. Their shared belief that experimentation leads to finding your path and their courage in putting forth their vision in its purest form exemplifies the tone of young creatives in America today.

Sara Rabin
Artist
See her work at SaraRabin.net

How would you describe your art?
The work I share is mostly figurative, quick impulsive sketches that tell a story. My work is heavily into drawing at this point, but like to paint when I have more time and focus.

CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Box Clutch / CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Cotton-Blend Turtleneck Top / CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Wool Twill Tuxedo Trousers

How was showing at a gallery solo for the first time? 
It’s hard to describe the emotional work that went into the show. It was incredibly fulfilling but taught me how much I have to learn about the art world. I am so grateful for the experience, and my eyes are definitely widened on the business side of establishing my career as an artist.

There seems to be a bit of absurdity in your work. Is there something about finding a silliness or grotesqueness that you like?
My heart is broken all the time, so I try to balance that by injecting humor into my work. I guess that sounds like it doesn’t make sense, but I am angrily and tragically sprinkling my work with humor. Laugh, dammit!

You came to set dressed in a sweatshirt and out of all the wardrobe options chose a white turtleneck to wear…
I’m a pretty simple dresser and really appreciate functionality in clothing. That’s what applies to my life most. But a statement piece can go a long way for me when I’m not in the studio working. With a strong accessory, people might see the sunglasses on my head or the bag in my hand and go, ‘oh okay, this girl knows, she gets it.’ So yeah, hand me some basics, and I’ll close the deal with the bag.

SARA RABIN There’s a Lady in a Blue Hat—There’s a Lady in A Blue Hat, 2017, 48 x 48 inches

You were recently written up by both New York Magazine and the New Yorker for your first solo show—what’s next for you?
I am leaving for Japan. I’ll be doing a month-long residency there and then traveling the countryside. I’m looking forward to being immersed in a foreign environment. So many ideas come from being an outsider.

CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Contrast-Sleeve Wool-Blend Sweater

Gabby Richardson
Curator and Muse Model
Visit Art Hoe Collective on Tumblr

What is the Art Hoe Collective and why does it exist?
As a curator for Art Hoe Collective, I organize the works of artists, curate our online gallery, orchestrate events, and find the best route to support other artists in the QPOC [Queer People of Color] community. There are so many young artists of color across the gender spectrum who make groundbreaking work on a daily basis but receive little-to-no recognition. I’m passionate about this project because queer people of color are the creators of culture and change, but we need access to tools to expand our work—if something isn’t accessible, it can not be radical.

CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Dome Clutch / CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Striped-Cuff Wool Sweater / CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Chiffon Wrap Skirt

Tell us about an upcoming Art Hoe Collective event that you’re excited about.
We’re currently planning art shows for the upcoming fall/winter with a theme revolving around immigrant artists in the United States. I’m also currently planning out my own solo show for my personal works. Our shift into more physical projects versus online ones is a sign of our growth as a community and as collective. We want to utilize all the tools we have to bring people together in spaces and fully immerse them in an experience.

Who’s been inspiring you lately?
Another artist who inspires me is Solange. Her ability to mix her music with performance and dancing is amazing. It’s not just music, it has a message, and it tells a story—a story that she uses movement, performance, and set design to relay. Solange’s music, although stemming from her own individual experience, is a shared narrative that many other people of color have lived and can relate to on a base level.

Gabby and a few of the women who are part of Art Hoe Collective. “I’m constantly inspired by the young artist of color around me. They work tirelessly to create and collaborate with the people around them. If it wasn’t for other artists there wouldn’t be a collective in the first place.”

What is it about CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC that made you want to participate in our shoot?
I love the cleanness of the CALVIN KLEIN pieces I wore in this shoot. Raf Simons creates a beautiful, striking minimalism that evokes a feeling of nostalgia through structure and bold color. My favorite pieces in the collection were the bags, as I love the structured white purse and the texture of the leather and the crystal accents. I personally love clean, bright color in my personal style. I want people to see what I wear and know what kind of person I am before words are even spoken. I’m a firm believer that the clothing you wear influences the energy you give into the world, and I feel like these pieces are a perfect example of that sentiment.

Elanor Bock
Performance Artist
Follow her on Instagram @rathernothanks

You don’t fall into a specific genre, so how would ​you describe​ ​what​ ​you​ ​do to someone outside the world of dance?​
I​ ​work​ ​with​ ​a​ ​really​ ​diverse​ ​array​ ​of​ ​choreographers,​ ​musicians​, ​and​ ​visual​ ​artists.​ ​My​ ​roles​ ​shift​ ​all​ ​the​ ​time. Sometimes​ ​I’m​ ​dancing​ ​in​ ​a​ ​project,​ ​sometimes​ ​I’m​ ​collaborating​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​music​ ​video​ ​or​ ​a​ ​photoshoot. Growing​ ​up​, ​my​ ​focus​ ​was​ ​on​ ​ballet, but​ ​once​ ​I​ ​joined​ ​a​ ​ballet​ ​company​ ​I​ ​always​ ​felt​ ​like​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​more than​ ​a​ ​“subject.”​​​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​the​ ​tonality​ ​of​ ​a​ ​work—​the​ ​environment,​ ​the​ ​timing,​ ​the sound.​ To​ ​build​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​to​ ​be​ ​built​ ​upon.​ ​New​ ​York​ ​City​ ​and​ ​the​ ​people​ ​in​ ​it​ ​are​ ​a​ ​constant inspiration.​ ​Since​ ​leaving​ ​Ballet​ ​West​ ​three​ ​years​ ​ago​, ​I’ve​ ​spent​ ​my​ ​time​ ​pursuing​ ​so​ ​many​ ​interests​ ​that​ ​at first​ ​seemed​ ​divergent,​ ​but​ ​they​ ​all​ ​led​ ​me​ ​back​ ​toward ​making​ ​more​ ​work.

CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Python Chain Shoulder Bag / CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Contrast-Sleeve Wool-Blend Sweater / CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Straight-Leg Jeans

What’re you working on right now?
I​ ​am​ ​currently​ ​working​ ​on​ ​a​ ​few​ ​different​ ​projects. ​I am​ ​working​ ​with​ ​two​ ​women,​ ​Hadley​ ​Smith​ ​and​ ​Elle​ ​Erdman​, ​who​ ​are​ ​very​ ​different​ ​modern choreographers​, ​but​ ​who​ ​both​ ​have​ ​an​ ​improvisation-first​ ​approach.​ ​I’ve​ ​loved​ ​watching​ ​these​ ​pieces​ ​grow without​ ​any​ ​maps​ ​and​ ​without​ ​any​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​thematic​ ​precursor, which​ ​I​ ​think​ ​is​ ​a​ ​powerful​ ​way​ ​to​ ​construct choreography.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​kinesthetic​ ​language​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​classical​ ​ballet​ ​that​ ​I​ ​mastered​ ​at​ ​young​ ​age, but that​ ​simply​ ​doesn’t​ ​exist​ ​when​ ​you​ ​step​ ​into​ ​the​ ​modern​ ​dance​ ​world.​ ​Part​ ​of​ ​what​ ​I’ve​ ​loved​ ​about​ ​working with​ ​these​ ​women​ ​is​ ​learning​ ​how​ ​to​ ​communicate​ ​using​ ​sound,​ ​environment,​ ​words​, ​and​ ​objects​ ​as​ ​our language.​ ​At some​ ​rehearsals​ ​we​ ​are​ ​filming​ ​each​ ​other,​ ​at others​ ​we​ ​are​ ​using​ ​our​ ​own​ ​voices​ ​to​ ​move​ ​us through​ ​space,​ ​using​ ​objects​ ​to​ ​impact​ ​movement​ ​or​ ​impact​ ​feeling.​ ​It’s​ ​been​ ​very​ ​inspiring​ ​for​ ​me.

Elanor Bock pictured at an improvisational dance performance.

What artwork or performance have you recently experienced that got you thinking?
The​ ​Robert​ ​Rauschenberg​ ​retrospective​ ​at​ MoMA​ ​made​ ​me think​ ​about​ ​how​ ​I​ ​want​ ​my​ ​career​ ​retrospective​ ​to​ ​look,​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​hand​ ​in​ ​so​ ​many​ ​forms​ ​and​ ​to​ ​have​ ​my work​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​that​ ​other​ ​artists​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can​ ​build​ ​something​ ​larger​ ​than​ ​our​ ​own​ ​singular​ ​vision together. I’m​ ​a​ ​dancer,​ ​choreographer,​ ​writer,​ ​and​ ​occasionally​ ​I​ ​model,​ ​so​ ​I’m​ ​drawn​ ​to​ ​artists​ ​who​ ​work​ ​via collaboration​ ​and​ ​across ​multiple​ ​forms.​ ​

We​ ​had​ ​you​ ​playing​ ​around​ ​with​ ​the​ ​bag​ ​a​ ​lot in this shoot…it was like watching a dance!
​I​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​fun​ ​playing around​ ​with​ ​the​ ​bag,​ ​the​ ​clothes​, ​and​ ​the​ ​space​ ​in​ ​the​ ​shoot.​ ​I​ ​approach​ ​using​ ​props​ ​or​ ​accessories​ ​like​ ​an extension​ ​of​ ​myself​ ​or​ ​my​ ​body.​ ​It’s​ ​all​ ​about​ ​having​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​experimenting​ ​with​ ​what​ ​surrounds​ ​you.​ ​My years​ ​of​ ​dancing​ ​in​ ​unpredictable​ ​settings​ ​and​ ​spaces​ ​have​ ​taught​ ​me​ ​that​ ​objects​ ​around​ ​you​ ​can​ ​be​ ​an important​ ​part​ ​of​ ​your​ ​kinesthetic​ ​experience​ ​and​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​intimidating.

How does this collection play into your style?​ 
My​ ​aesthetic​ ​is​ ​built​ ​on​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​that​ ​simple​ ​pieces​ ​can​ ​come​ ​together​ ​to​ ​create​ ​something​ ​really​ ​interesting, which​ ​is​ ​exactly​ ​why​ ​I​ ​like​ ​CALVIN KLEIN.​ For​ ​me​ the collection ​is​ ​like​ ​a​ ​frame:​ ​simple,​ ​beautiful​ ​pieces that​ ​set​ ​my​ ​look​ ​up.​

CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Python Chain Shoulder Bag

 

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