Photography Mitchell Sams.

there’s something in the water at calvin klein

Raf Simons looks at 'Jaws' and sees a reflection of where we're at in America.

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Sep 12 2018, 2:30pm

Photography Mitchell Sams.

Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic served as inspiration for a surreal, invigorating Calvin Klein show, which opened with guests surrounded by walls of water, awaiting Chrissie Watkins’ untimely demise at the teeth of Jaws. Monster movies are all the rage at the moment — possibly something to do with the imminent demise of society and the social construct. It seemed fitting that Simons would choose the disaster film that reads as an allegory for Watergate, the last time the country faced a presidential crisis. “A journey through America leads, inevitably, to the edge of the landscape: the beach,” said Simons. “At the beach there is this incredible idea of beauty, but also a tension -- between land and ocean, a feeling of two worlds meeting, maybe colliding. There’s a sense of the unexpected -- and always, a temptation. For me, Jaws perfectly exemplifies these notions.”

And what better to wear to the beach (and to face societal collapse) than a wetsuit? Simons, perhaps mindful of rising sea levels, sent out a selection of the surfing staple, rolled down to reveal a delicate, floral interior. The second look saw the ‘suit paired with a knit sweater and mortarboard, a riff on another classic of the period, The Graduate. While the menswear was on the shore, the models looking collegial and like they were on summer break, the womenswear was altogether darker. And wetter. Their hair soaked, Simons sent out the models in oversize blazers worn over tank tops with the Jaws poster on them, and skirts repurposed from the top of wetsuits. He also had several Mrs Robinson moments, with crinkled, origami-like cocktail dresses worn by Julia Nobis and Yasmin Le Bon — a look to aspire to once you’ve hung up the surfboard.

With the blood red carpet and oceanic blue backdrop, it was clear that Simons is far from done with his investigation of American horror tropes. What’s surprising is that the results can be so lovely. The soundtrack may have had its ominous moments, but the clothes are almost idyllic in their beauty. The audience, which included Gwendoline Christie and Selah Marley, seemed to agree — Simons’ vision of Americana is one we’d all like to live. Of course, Simons put it most poetically himself, when talking about his love of The Graduate. ”Like the film,” he said, “this collection explores taboos and temptations, shifts in culture and community, but ultimately, the overarching theme is love.”