This is the first project of Jacob Jordan, an Apple and Thom Browne and Vuitton alumnus who joined the brand full-time in March 2020 as Global Chief Merchant and Product Strategist. Asked about the connection between The Preston Project and his own role, Jordan said that the brand’s heritage “is as important as ever. And not just for us as a brand, but we think it’s still very important for the consumer. So how do you take this DNA and reinvent it? In the past, Calvin Klein was so associated with sensuality and youthful spirit and loved all of these things. So what does that mean now?
As a result, rather than clothes, the keystone of the project is a monumental campaign with vibrant video and footage by Renell Medrano. Like the brand’s original and much-loved iconography, featuring Kate Moss and Marky Mark in their underwear, it’s meticulously and almost stunning, with Lil Uzi Vert freestyle, Nas peeling an orange, Kaia Gerber sitting in the room. bathing in underwear, plus others like GQ contributor Joe Holder, Preston himself and skater Stevie Williams. Oh, and supermodel Ashley Graham! He’s got that ranch house, that rug shag vibe, but without the creepy perversity of the famous Bruce Weber photos. (For this ambiance, see ERL.) Simons did a bit of that too – remember when he put the Kardashians in the barn? But it was, well, a little too intellectual to be true CK. The genius of Calvin Klein ads was their utter, straightforward simplicity. Preston’s clothing is tailor-made to support the creation of this imagery. These are clothes for an epic campaign.
Perhaps we are entering a new golden age of fashion advertising. The brands seem optimistic about the image possibilities. Last weekend, Balenciaga released a pre-fall collection with video that did not feature any of their clothes but instead a series of scientifically proven clips to make the viewer happy. It was utterly, mightily insane, playing with the overarching, sinister, and vague vocabulary used by almost every tech company these days. More optimistic was the first campaign released by Los Angeles brand Rhude, with Future in the brand’s chic streetwear. Rhude has a billboard in Los Angeles, but otherwise they don’t have distribution plans for the images, which are something between a magazine editorial and a lookbook. The Future photo is an advertisement for publicity.
In a way, Calvin Klein was the first brand where clothes were the least important part. This is increasingly the industry standard. Preston described going into the archives and finding not only clothes, but a chair, perfume, a whole piece of campaign images and fan letters to Calvin. “It was like a museum,” he said. And with that in mind, he’s created the kind of capsule collection that’s perfect for our time: some very sophisticated museum products.
This story has been updated.