behind the scenes of raf's calvin klein in the california desert

Enjoy these little moments captured on the set of Raf Simon's Calvin Klein 205W39NYC campaign.

by Isabelle Hellyer
08 August 2017, 8:21am

This article was originally published by i-D Australia.

When Raf Simons took the reigns at Calvin Klein, it felt historic: a Belgian designer at a quintessentially American house? It seemed that after decades, the often tense relationship between U.S. designers and their European counterparts had settled, giving way to a spirit of global unity — or something close to it.

So far, Raf has embraced New York City, the birthplace of Calvin Klein, joyfully mining the brand's deep archives and broader American history for inspiration. His first campaign for the label, photographed by Willy Vanderperre, saw barely-dressed models inspect classic artworks by Richard Prince, Andy Warhol and Sterling Ruby — all Americans themselves. The title of the series? 'American Classics.'

This, his sophomore campaign for the label, looked outdoors: toward the Californian desert. Models stood in front of billboards erected beside the highway bearing familiar images: last season's 'American Classics' campaign. It was "a study in art and artifice," the label wrote. Raf, in erecting the billboards, brought his vision of a glamorous, fantastical America into being — at least for a moment.

In these exclusive behind the scenes images, we see what it took to bring Raf's surreal vision to life. In these private, candid moments, models grip water bottles with straws to avoid disturbing their makeup, as lighting technicians in baseball caps and cowboy hats look on. Peek behind the curtain.


Text Isabelle Hellyer
Image courtesy Calvin Klein