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FASHION : In the Here and Now : Calvin Klein Talks About Marriage, Sex, Bill's Hair, Hillary's Hair and Fashion (Natch)


There are futurists, and there are now-ists. Calvin Klein is definitely into now. He's in Los Angeles getting ready for an appearance at the "The World of Calvin Klein," an AIDS Project Los Angeles fashion show and fund-raiser Thursday night at the Hollywood Bowl.

For 25 years, the New York designer has been shocking us with images and attitudes: ads with a teen-age, topless Brooke Shields, and, later, with rapper Marky Mark; fortysomething models in runway shows; a photo supplement on kids jeans, leather and sex, the waif revival featuring model Kate Moss . . .

Here is a look at a few things that are part of the world now, as Calvin Klein sees it.

On Sex

"I think sex is in. For awhile it seemed people were afraid, because of the health crisis, the AIDS crisis. Now, regardless of that, people are into it. From everything I'm reading, more people are having sex at a younger age. And it keeps getting younger."

Sexy Dressing

"The overt thing isn't what it's about right now. But I don't see a romantic, innocent, pretty thing either. For me, I find the Kate Moss sort of innocence appealing. Because there's an edge to it. Maybe it's a little angry, a little innocent. I look for that edge in everything."

Love and Marriage

"A while ago I sensed a new commitment, and a new feeling of romance. Romance, children, all of it . . . was such a contrast to the wild, crazy period that came before. This was a more spiritual approach to love. I think it continues. But at the same time, people are interested in having sex. Marriage and sex. You can be interested in both."

On Women

"What looks right to my eye is, women who are more vulnerable, more fragile. Women whose bodies are not exaggerated. For a time it was fashionable to have big breasts--models came to me with breast implants. I reject that now. I like it when you can sense a body through the fabric of the clothes. And it's very real and modern when a woman's hair looks a little dirty, when it sticks together a little. All of which takes a lot of work. I like my own hair to look like I just got up in the morning. It has to be cut a certain way to do that."

On Men

"Men, especially young men, aren't so uptight about fashion. It signifies a big change and a healthy one, I think. It tells me men have to be more comfortable with themselves. The slouchy suit has become the suit, at least for me. Comfortable, easy, more relaxed looking. When I think of it, Wall Street bankers who lived in Brooks Brothers suits don't anymore."

The Gay Community

"I'm hosting a fund-raiser at my house a few days after the APLA fund-raiser, for gays in the military. It's a human-rights issue. Keeping gays out of the military is no better than when blacks were segregated in the military. There is a group raising money to fight this. I'm willing to do all I can to help.

"The gay community has done so much to bring attention to the AIDS crisis. But it's naive to think it's a gay disease. It's important now to educate young people and women about it."


"I rode horses for a time. There's underwear for riding horses. There's underwear for basketball, cycling, every sport. In doing underwear for men, I started thinking it's so much more than briefs and boxer shorts. I started looking at antique underwear, sports underwear. I started to think about the businessman, who takes off his suit. He's home after work, he wants to lounge around, maybe read something. Underwear can be what you lounge around in. When I first did underwear for women, I thought it was very sexy to see a woman in classic men's-type underwear. Briefs with elastic waistbands, undershirts. It seemed so modern, as compared to old-fashioned lingerie. Then it became a sexy thing to show your underwear. I think that will continue. People think differently about it today. It's not considered outrageous."

Jeans and High Fashion

"If you live in the city, you want to look like your clothes didn't just come fresh out of a box. To get that softer, easier feeling we work hard on the finish of fabrics. It should look like you've had the clothes for awhile. It started with treated denim. Aging it, weathering it, washing it with stones. You can't imagine the technology that went into the look of an old pair of jeans. Now, I buy Italian fabrics at $75 a yard for my collections, and they have been treated to get that softer finish. It all started with jeans."

Who's Hot

"It's not about a person, it's about a group. Francis Ford Coppola's daughter Sophia, Marisa Berenson's daughter Melody, Ali MacGraw's son Josh, Natalie Woods' daughter Katie. I think the children of people we all know look interesting now."

Hillary's Hair

"Frederic Fekkai cut her hair beautifully."

Her Style

"She's wearing a suit from my fall collection for an upcoming cover of Mirabella. It's a pantsuit. I'm so thrilled. She might get into what fashion people would like to see her look like. But I don't think that's so important to her. She has very important stuff on her mind. She's a wonderful role model."

Bill's Hair

"All of that about the haircut on the plane, on the runway. I think it's a lot of nonsense."

The Future

"I wouldn't begin to know what will happen between now and the mid-'90s. I only think about what I want now. Which sometimes happens to coincide with what others are thinking."

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