is a successful fashion designer and founder
of the popular brand that shares his name.
In addition to clothing, the Calvin Klein
brand also makes and sells fragrances
as well as watches and jewelry.
Richard Klein was born on November 19,
1942 in the Bronx to parents of Hungarian
descent. After finishing grade school,
Klein attended the High School of Industrial
Art followed by New York's Fashion Institute
of Technology. At the age of 20, after
graduating from college, Klein started
an apprenticeship at a manufacturer of
cloaks and suits. From 1962 to 1967, Klein
designed clothing and outerwear for a
variety of shops in New York.
his formative years, Klein became the
protege of the well known Baron de Gunzburg
and was introduced to a variety of high
society. These introductions helped to
make Calvin Klein a brand name even before
the launch of his initial line in the
New York fashion scene.
1964 Klein married his first wife, Jayne
Centre, with whom he had a daughter. They
divorced after ten years of marriage.
their marriage, however, Klein was able
to launch his company, Calvin Klein Inc.
Beginning in 1968, the line initially
focused on designing women's coats but
increased recognition for his designs
led him to branch out into other areas
1974, the same year he divorced Centre,
Calvin Klein introduced a new style of
tight fitting jeans that launched him
to the top of popular fashion culture.
In previous years, jeans were considered
work and casual clothes, but Klein's new
styles, mixed with a marketing campaign
featuring Brooke Shields, helped promote
the idea of designer jeans.
continued to define contemporary fashion
with clean lines and modern style. He
won the coveted Council of Fashion Designers
of America (CFDA) award for both men and
women's designs in the same year and found
support and praise throughout the fashion
1986 Calvin Klein married Kelly Rector.
Although they later divorced in 2006,
both Klein and Rector remained professionally
and personally close.
launched his fragrance lines in the late
1970s and 1980s. His most popular scents
include Obsession, Eternity, and Escape.
In 1993 he made another bold fashion move
by introducing a unisex fragrance entitled
2007 the Calvin Klein brand began opening
brand stores around the US. The hope was
to test the market and eventually open
Calvin Klein stores in major metropolitan
areas around the US and eventually the
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