The longstanding collaborative relationship between Raf Simons and artist Sterling Ruby has produced some of the most original experiments in fashion, astutely merging art with commerciality. Fresh from having designed the Calvin Klein space at Dover Street Market New York, Ruby has yet again been tapped to transform the Calvin Klein flagship store in Madison Avenue into an immersive floor to ceiling installation, prior to a forthcoming full renovation of the building.
This latest project by Ruby acts in parallel with Simons’ work redefining the iconic brand, alongside emphasising its All-American heritage. Strikingly vibrant and immediate – the acidic yellow space is framed by scaffolding, whilst also showcasing Ruby’s characteristic use of fringing and textiles reminiscent of the star-spangled banner, draped from the high ceilings. Reflecting Simons’ ‘work-in-process’, the pared-down minimalist design evokes the idea of being under construction, bringing the industrial visuals to the fore of the experience.
In light of the opening of the flagship store, Simons’ CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC collection – his debut for the US brand – hits the shelves, featuring pieces that recall the iconic characteristics of American culture, such as marching band uniforms, classic quilting and western-inspired pieces. Alongside apparel and accessories, the store boasts a curated collection of objects; from iconic Homer Laughlin coffee mugs, to a hand-selected assortment of Rose Cabat feelies, to vintage American quilts and the brand’s debut bedding collection.
The sculptural and dynamic nature of Ruby’s design process has enabled Simons to experiment with the immersive aspect of the retail world, explaining in a statement that he “wanted the store to generate a very immediate physical experience that could as well be intimately connected to the collections… The use of very direct and familiar references common to the American visual experience creates a simple and emotional connection with the brand.”
Blending diverse elements of media, Ruby explained: “I’m taking the Calvin Klein flagship store from minimal to maximal; my design should be seen as a marker to celebrate the future of the brand.”
Calvin Klein’s New York store is located at 654 Madison Ave, 10065.