It has been over a year since Kendall Jenner first appeared in a campaign for Calvin Klein. Since then the model has been featured in several more of the brand's ads including some huge billboards around New York City. Still, Calvin Klein recently said that he isn't familiar with her work for his namesake brand.
During an interview with Fern Mallis at the Savannah School of Art and Design last night, the designer threw some shade at Jenner's recent work for Calvin Klein saying, "You know, I'm really not that familiar with it. I'm honestly not. I'm sure she's a lovely young woman," he said. "It's not the kind of thing I would have done, even today. Justin Bieber, yes."
As Fashionista pointed out, it has been over a decade since Klein had full control over his brand. Klein sold to Phillips-Van Heusen in 2002 for $400 million in cash, $30 million worth of stock, and up to $300 million in royalties. Since then, his involvement in the brand has declined.
Klein's disinterest in Jenner is somewhat surprising considering models like Kate Moss fronted his campaigns in the '90s. But, one thing he did approve of was Bieber as a face of Calvin Klein. "When [I say] I like Justin Bieber in the Calvin Klein Underwear [campaign], it's because I like him—not because he's got millions of followers," he said.
"Now, models are paid for how many followers they have. They're booked not because they represent the essence of the designer, which is what I tried to do—they're booked because of how many followers they have online." The designer seems to be digging even further into Jenner here.
Klein further explains that if you value artistry and take a great photo of someone, you can make it work, but "Just putting any old clothes on Kim Kardashian, long-term, isn't going to do a thing."
Later in the discussion, Klein seems to criticize designers like Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane for stepping down from their positions as creative directors, calling them "replaceable."
"Designers today don't stay long enough on the job, even the best ones," he said. "They stay two years and their contract's up, and then they think they have invented the name Dior or Saint Laurent or Balenciaga. Everyone's replaceable. A lot of designers get replaced, and often get forgotten."
When reflecting on the current state of fashion, Klein says he is "disappointed" with what is happening today. ""When I see motorcycle jackets for $2,000 that are distressed or ripped jeans from couture designers, I think to myself, 'Are they kidding me?' We've been doing this for 30 years. It's not new," he said.
"I understand why it's young and cool, but there is a thing about respect for women and trying to make women look as beautiful as they possibly can, and also [creating] new things. There's a lot that's going on that's disappointing."