Calvin Klein Designers Love the Racy Billboard, So Get Over It

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Photo: Courtesy of Calvin Klein

They may not design Calvin Klein Jeans, but the men behind Calvin Klein's menswear and womenswear lines are quick to defend — indeed, crow about — Steven Meisel’s racy new CK Jeans "threesome" billboard currently scandalizing Soho stroller-pushers. "It's my favorite campaign ever!" said Italo Zucchelli at the CFDAs, where he later won Menswear Designer of the Year. "I think it is a fantastic campaign. That is what Calvin Klein Jeans is supposed to be. Everyone needs to be scandalized and screaming. That is what we want." Zucchelli said he hoped the controversial nature of the ads would shock some viewers into spending. “I hope they’re going to be, ‘Ooooh, what is that?’ And then they buy our jeans. In the best tradition of Calvin Klein.”

Zucchelli's date, Bradley Cooper, hadn’t seen the ad, but wanted to know what he was missing. “It’s like, two girls and guy, like, kind of making out,” Zucchelli explained. (Actually, it’s two guys and a girl, but who’s keeping track?) “Does the guy kind of look like a girl?” Cooper asked. “No, he looks like a guy,” Zucchelli explained. “I love it!” said Cooper. “I’ve got to see that!”

Womenswear designer Francisco Costa, too, loves the ad, and is upset he even has to defend it. “Please!” he said. “It’s so, like, old news. Don’t you think we should be a little ashamed for even having to discuss? I mean, it’s great for us. So if you want to talk about it, let’s talk about it. But there was no intention of making that controversial. Just make beautiful ads. And they’re beautiful ads. And I think, you know, we’re such a forward society, but we tend to be a little prudish sometimes. It’s New York City! It’s the 21st century! Honey, we have to move on! We have to move on.” As for the charge that viewing the ads might scar innocent tourists for life, Costa cautioned that most tourists aren’t as sheltered as New Yorkers like to think. “I think it’s great for tourists,” he said. “I think they’ll see that and walk right into our store. I think tourists have great sensibility. That’s why they’re tourists. They’re voyeurs.” Huh. So maybe we’re the prudes.

Related: See a slideshow of all the winners and looks at last night's CFDA Awards.
Earlier: Calvin Klein’s Hot Three-Way Action Makes Soho Blush