Photography by Willy Vanderperre

Calvin Klein’s Fall Campaign Is More Science-Fiction Than Fashion

Drawing from widespread contemporary fantastic worlds – namely floating spaceships amidst nomadic isolated deserts – the newest Calvin Klein campaign seems to belong more to a science-fiction film than to a fashion brand. Indeed, at first glance, the landscapes notably resemble those of Star Wars.

The fall campaign is described as exploring “ the familiar American landscape through an otherworldly lens, challenging the perception of the real and the imagined.” Photographer Willy Vanderperre established this unstable relationship between the real and the imagined by juxtapositioning real models into barren, desert scenery. The landscapes are actually just the Utah desert, but look like an odd fusion between a stark unknown planet and the post-apocalyptic Earth.

The alien planet aesthetic is reinforced through the odd plays of scale between the uncomfortably enlarged models – or their floating heads – superimposed on the landscape. By depicting the models as much bigger than the scenery, the images destabilize natural perspective and automatically infuse a fantastical essence to the campaign. Even the garments, such as the futuristic silver space blanket dress, seem to have been borrowed from another world.  According to chief creative officer Raf Simons’ official statement, the fall collection aims to illustrate the meeting of old and new worlds – from the “discovery” of North America to the 1960s Space Race and the twenty-first century information age – where silver boots meet wool balaclavas. Indeed, the collection draws both from futuristic space aesthetics and from traditional silhouettes and materials.


On Instagram, Calvin Klein claims that the campaign “evokes a sense of calm and and hope, capturing the ever-present theme of American youth.” Yet hope and calm aren’t the first words that came to my mind when seeing these images. Anxiety and unease are. In spite of the blue sky and crisp garments, post-apocalyptic stark landscapes aren’t exactly a vivid definition of hope. 

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