Calvin Klein Designers Defend Controversial Billboard

Calvin Klein has been stirring up a fair bit of controversy recently thanks to a particularly salacious billboard on Houston Street. The image is from a Steven Meisel-shot ad campaign that debuted in January as an especially racy (and subsequently banned) television commercial, which can best be described as a denim-clad orgy. While tut-tutting New Yorkers have filed complaints against the advertisement, Calvin Klein’s own designers think the racy billboard should stay put.

New York magazine caught up with both Calvin Klein’s menswear designer Italo Zucchelli and womenswear designer Francisco Costa at the CFDA’s annual awards ceremony Sunday night (the former took this year’s honor of Menswear Designer of the Year, while Costa took the same title for Womenswear last year) and found out that both stand behind the sex-charged ad. Zucchelli sees it as totally on point with Calvin Klein’s image: “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.” And in Costa’s opinion, it can only help the brand’s image … especially with tourists: “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.”

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