Calvin Klein (fashion designer)

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Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Klein at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair party
Born Calvin Richard Klein
(1942-11-19) November 19, 1942 (age 74)
Bronx, New York, U.S.
Residence Southampton, New York
Education Fashion Institute of Technology
Occupation Fashion designer
Spouse(s) Jayne Centre (m. 1965; div. 1974)
Kelly Rector (m. 1986; div. 2006)
Children Marci Klein
Parent(s) Flore Stern Klein
Leo Klein
Labels Calvin Klein Inc.

Calvin Richard Klein (/ˈkælvn ˈrɪərd kln/; born November 19, 1942) is an American fashion designer who launched the company that would later become Calvin Klein Inc., in 1968. In addition to clothing, he also has given his name to a range of perfumes, watches, and jewelry.

Early years[edit]

Klein is an American fashion designer of Hungarian ancestry. He was born to a Jewish family in The Bronx, New York, the son of Flore (née Stern) and Leo Klein.[1] His father was an immigrant from Hungary while his mother was the daughter of an immigrant from Austria and an American dentist.[1] He attended the High School of Art and Design and matriculated at, but never graduated from, New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, receiving an honorary Doctorate in 2003. He did his apprenticeship in 1962 at an oldline cloak-and-suit manufacturer, Dan Millstein,[citation needed] and spent five years designing at other New York City shops. In 1968, he launched his first company with a childhood friend,[2] Barry K. Schwartz.[2][3]

Klein was one of several design leaders raised in the Jewish immigrant community in the Bronx, along with Robert Denning and Ralph Lauren. He became a protégé of Baron de Gunzburg,[3] through whose introductions he became the toast of the New York elite fashion scene even before he had his first mainstream success with the launch of his first jeans line. He was immediately recognized for his talent after his first major showing at New York City Fashion Week. He was hailed as the new Yves Saint Laurent, and was noted for his clean lines.

Personal life[edit]

Klein married Jayne Centre, a textile designer, in 1964.[4] They have a daughter, Marci,[5] who currently works as Talent Producer for NBC's Saturday Night Live. They divorced in 1974.[4] In September 1986 Klein married his assistant, Kelly Rector, in Rome while they were on a buying trip in Italy.[4] She later became a well-known socialite photographer. After separating in 1996, they divorced in April 2006.[3][6] In 2003, Klein bought an ocean-front estate in Southampton, New York[3] and demolished it replacing it with a $75 million glass-and-concrete mansion.[7]

Klein is a supporter of the Democratic Party, having given over $250,000 to candidates and PACs since 1980.[8]


In 1974, Klein designed the tight-fitting signature jeans that would go on to gross $200,000 in their first week of sales.[9] In that same year he also became the first designer to receive outstanding design in men’s and women’s wear from the CFDA award show.[citation needed] In 1983, he was placed on the International Best Dressed List.[10] Also in 1981, 1983 and 1993, he received an award from Councils of Fashion Designs of America.[11][citation needed]


Klein made a cameo appearance in Season 3, Episode 15 ("The Bubble"), of the television series 30 Rock.[12] A fictionalized version of him also appears in Season 4, Episode 13 ("The Pick"), of the television series Seinfeld.


  1. ^ a b Marsh, Lisa The House of Klein: Fashion, Controversy, and a Business Obsession ISBN 9780471478959 | Publisher: Wiley \ Publication date: 5/4/2004
  2. ^ a b Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Calvin j". Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Gross, Michael. "The Latest Calvin". Originally New York magazine. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Calvin Klein". Vogue. 2008-04-22. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "AT LAST, A BABY FOR KELLY AT 50". The New York Post. August 28, 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Daily Mail: "Billionaire Lane: From fashion designers to real estate tycoons and Wall Street financiers. Meet those who live on the East Coast's most exclusive 5-mile stretch with a private beach and helipad" By CHARLENE ADAMS May 23, 2015
  8. ^ [1] Archived December 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Morgan, Philippa. "Calvin Klein: How the Fashion Phenomenon Kept His Cool". Vogue. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "Introducing the International Best-Dressed List 2016 Hall of Fame". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  11. ^ CFDA. "CFDA Fashion Awards". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  12. ^ Odell, Amy (2009-01-23). "Victoria Beckham Now in Russian Vogue; Calvin Klein Spotted at 30 Rock". New York. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 

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