Calvin Klein studied fashion in New York and apprenticed for a suit manufacturer. In 1968, he opened his own company that was initially recognized for suits and coats, but his sportswear line became popular and top of the line. He received three Coty Awards for womenswear. His business now includes clothing, cosmetics, fragrances and home collections.
Until the 1950s, fashion clothing was predominately designed and manufactured on a made-to-measure or haute couture basis (French for high-sewing), with each garment being created for a specific client. A couture garment is made to order for an individual customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric, sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Look and fit take priority over the cost of materials and the time it takes to make. Due to the high cost of each garment, haute couture makes little direct profit for the fashion houses, but is important for prestige and publicity.
He rebounded in the 60’s and 70’s, designing his own line and stunning Paris and the entire fashion world with his own brand of French elegance. However, the stress of his work led him to abuse booze and drugs; in time, the fragile designer’s health became precarious. By 1987, he was unable to fulfill his responsibilities, and allowed others to design his prêt-a-porter line.