A biography of controversial designer Calvin Klein draws on interviews with friends, business associates, and lovers to trace his dramatic rise to fame in the fashion world and his self-indulgent personal life
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This unauthorized biography is part riveting empire-building chronicle, part tiresome litany of sexcapades. Gaines has trod much of this territory before in Simply Halston (1991); Churcher is a former Wall Street Journal reporter. Born to a relatively affluent Bronx family, Klein took a job with a Seventh Avenue coat manufacturer, married a local girl, had a baby, and moved to Queens. But when the president of Bonwit Teller fell for a line of Calvin-designed coats and suits, all that changed. Bonwit's hyped him, and other stores lined up to get in on the act. Klein shed his wife and, in the 70's, remade himself into a regular on the Studio 54 and Fire Island scenes, launching a string of affairs with men and women. His daughter was kidnapped but released unharmed. Blue jean sales careened off the charts, helped by those ``Nothing comes between me and my Calvins'' ads featuring Brooke Shields. Klein went on to further success with both underwear and his fragrance, Obsession. As the world around him was decimated by AIDS, Klein edged out of the sex-and-drugs fast lane, marrying Kelly Rector, a design assistant in his studio. Ironically, the machinations of the Klein empire--the advertising coups, the disastrous decisions (i.e., the selection of the first Klein fragrance, which was universally disliked), the high-strung temperaments, the titanic personality clashes--make for far more scintillating reading than the exhaustive attempts to exhume every detail of the designer's sexual history. Occasional excessive biographic license (``A chill ran up Calvin's spine'') subtracts credibility. In all: part solid business reporting, part gratuitous heavy breathing. (First printing of 100,000) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Gaines and Churcher have done a thorough job of covering every facet of designer Calvin Klein's hectic career and jittery personality, and, indeed, obsession is the key word here. Klein has been obsessed with women's clothes since the age of five and determined to be rich from a not much more advanced stage of his gawky, clandestinely boy-struck youth. Gaines and Churcher track his steady rise from the competitive streets of the Bronx to the pinnacle of the international fashion world in great detail, emphasizing his conflictful bisexuality, adoration for his daughter, and full-tilt indulgence in the devil-may-care club and cocaine culture of the eighties. Klein married a nice Jewish girl from the neighborhood just as he made his first bid for recognition, but that marriage soon collapsed beneath the pressure of his ambition and, yes, obsession with muscular young men. Klein made it through his promiscuous, drug-charged Studio 54 nights and days without contracting AIDS or compounding his debt woes and business fiascoes. In fact, he has been an extraordinary trendsetter in the realms of fashion and advertising; he made it big, and then he made it bigger. To their credit, the authors spend as much time on the daring deals Klein and loyal business partner Barry Schwartz pulled off as they do on Klein's personal escapades, offering lots of juicy insider information on various Klein products and ad campaigns. An engrossing American success story, warts, ambivalence, and all. Donna Seaman
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Book Description Avon Books (Mm), 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110380725002
Book Description Avon Books, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0380725002