Calvin Richard Klein (/ˈkælvɨn ˈrɪtʃərd klaɪn/; born November 19, 1942) is an American fashion designer who launched the company that would later become Calvin Klein Inc., in 1968. In addition to clothing, Klein also has given his name to a range of perfumes, watches, and jewelry.

Early years

Klein was born in The Bronx, New York. His parents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants. He attended the High School of Art and Design and matriculated at, but never graduated from, New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, receiving an honorary Doctorate in 2003. He did his apprenticeship in 1962 at an oldline cloak-and-suit manufacturer, Dan Millstein, and spent five years designing at other New York shops. In 1968, he 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, along with Robert Denning and Ralph Lauren. Klein became a protégé of 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. 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.

Personal life

Klein married Jayne Centre, a textile designer, in 1964. They have a daughter, Marci, who currently works as Talent Producer for NBC's Saturday Night Live. Calvin Klein and Jayne Centre-Klein were divorced in 1974.

In September 1986 Klein married his assistant, Kelly Rector, in Rome while they were on a buying trip in Italy. She later became a well-known socialite photographer. After separating in 1996, the couple divorced in April 2006.

In 2003, Klein bought an ocean-front estate in Southampton Village in the Hamptons, Long Island, New York.

Klein is a donor to Democratic Party political causes, having given over $250,000 to candidates and PACs since 1980.


In 1974, Klein designed the tight-fitting signature jeans that would go on to gross $200,000 in their first week of sales. In that same year Klein also became the first designer to receive outstanding design in men’s and women’s wear from the CFDA award show.

In 1983, Klein was placed on the International Best Dressed List.

Also in 1981, 1983 and 1993, he received an award from Councils of Fashion Designs of America.


Klein made a cameo appearance in Season 3, Episode 15 ("The Bubble"), of the television series 30 Rock. A fictionalized version of Klein also appears in Season 4, Episode 13 ("The Pick"), of the television series Seinfeld.


External links

  • Info and photos related to Calvin Klein at askmen.com
  • Calvin Klein talks trends on VOGUE.COM
  • Calvin Klein’s bio at informat.com
  • The Biography Channel
  • Some History and Background on Calvin Klein
  • Calvin Klein â€" a modern fashion icon
  • People magazine,January 18,1982. Calvin Klein, King of clothes
  • The Latest Calvin by Michael Gross, NY Magazine August 8, 1988

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