11-19-1942

Nick Gruber (L) Calvin Klein (R)

CALVIN KLEIN, American clothing designer, born; Calvin Richard Klein was born in The Bronx to Jewish-Hungarian immigrant parents. He attended the High School of Industrial Arts and matriculated, but never graduated, from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, receiving an honorary Doctorate at the graduation ceremony in 2003. He did his apprenticeship in 1962 at an old-line cloak-and-suit manufacturer, and spent five years designing at other New York shops. He later launched his first company with a childhood friend, Barry K. Schwartz.

Klein was one of several design leaders raised in the Jewish immigrant community in the Bronx, New York along with Robert Denning and Ralph Lauren. Cal became a protégé of the ever-so-flaming editor of Town & Country Baron de Gunzburg, through whose introductions he became the toast of the New York elite fashion scene, even before he had his first mainstream success with the launch of his first jeans line.

Later, speaking in an interview with Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol for Interview magazine, published shortly after the Baron’s death, Klein said: “He was truly the greatest inspiration of my life… he was my mentor, I was his protégé. If you talk about a person with style and true elegance — maybe I’m being a snob, but I’ll tell you, there was no one like him. I used to think, boy, did he put me through hell sometimes, but boy, was I lucky. I was so lucky to have known him so well for so long.” Calvin Klein was immediately recognized for his talent after his first major showing at New York Fashion Week. Klein was hailed as the new Yves Saint-Laurent, and was noted for his clean lines.

His wildly homoerotic advertisements transformed the men’s fashion advertising and fashion industry. Married twice, he has never actually come out. But come on…did anyone really think this man is heterosexual? Even a little?