We pushed the envelope. I realized, of course, I could run many of these images today. And they go back to the Seventies and Eighties. WWD: Do you feel in this politically charged atmosphere they would fly? Or was it a different time in the Eighties and Nineties? Some people loved it, and some people would get upset. And that was the risk you take. How did that make you feel? What was it like to be in the midst of a national conversation about family values? Did these things bother you? It seemed absurd to me between the Democrats and the Republicans talking about family values and using us as an example.
Luxury of Less: The Five Rings of Minimalism
When you put yourself on the line and you take risks, these things happen. Because I believed in myself. The reason for doing the book was two-fold. I did it to inspire students. They all know my name. This was an opportunity for me to show them what can be done and how I did it. Were those shot for ad campaigns?
I chose a number of photographs that I felt were really beautiful that we never ran. I felt that made it more interesting, rather than everything that we ran nationally. Did you ever observe that, and what was the atmosphere like on the Calvin Klein set? We totally respected the model. As far as I know, nothing like that ever came up. We know it exists. Will it stop everything? You hit everyone at the same time. Ours was much more complicated, thinking about which magazines to advertise in.
It would be fun to be doing it today. Nobody did page inserts back then.
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Now the money we would spend would be allocated differently. You put [the money] where it counts. She was a woman of great style — maybe not a designer. I loved designing jeans. I wore them throughout my teenage years through today.
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I think I made a contribution. WWD: Can you articulate or pinpoint where your minimalist, modernist point of view came from? She used to wear lots of tailored clothing. They were expensive, beautifully tailored. But they made beautiful clothes. She had this thing for tailored clothes.
They were not decorative. It came from her, and I guess I just had it myself. WWD: As you were maturing as a designer in the Seventies, what were the social and cultural factors in play that most influenced your work?
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I go back to the Sixties. It started with Woodstock, and then in the Seventies, New York was at the height. There was so much excitement and freedom, sexual freedom, all kinds of freedom. That was indicative of what was going on. I was influenced by everything that was happening in my life to begin with. And aware of what was happening around me. WWD: So often you are praised for your marketing and advertising brilliance and capturing the zeitgeist that way.
You led the way with the Nineties minimalism, but are seldom credited with that. Those are the labels people put on me. I have used models who belonged to agencies. The pattern was not that. I used to send scouts, they used to send me photographs, Polaroids and stacks and stacks. It was discovering people. She was under contract with me when she was She is still perfection. My kind of perfection.
It almost turns into a contest. How many shitty things can they be right about?
Life Lesson There is no such thing as luck. You either make good things happen or bad things happen. If someone consistently tells themself something bad is going to happen, then something bad is going to happen. And then they can be right! You start feeling like garbage.
You begin to feel the same way your friend feels. And when you start feeling worse, your friend goes even further into the pits of despair. There are two approaches you can take to getting rid of friends who are bringing you down. First, the direct approach.
Second, the indirect approach.
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