The iconic print advertisements for the house of Calvin Klein came to vivid life at the Singapore Fashion Festival (SFF) on Sunday night.
The festival's closing show was a vision of effortless cool, with its militia of 22 strutting models who stared straight ahead and moved with an almost robotic gait.
Achieving this vision, though, was anything but effortless.
Just a day before the event, ck's creative director Kevin Carrigan (right) had problems finding the perfect faces for his show.
'I've been through 100 models and picked only 12,' he says in an interview at the Four Seasons hotel.
Ask why and the man replies matter-of-factly: 'Because we want a particular look - a sort of refined elegance and youthful spirit, a freshness.'
'The model, whether she is a celebrity, a supermodel or an upcoming face, has to fit the ck aesthetic. It's all part of the design process,' he adds.
Carrigan, 43, is well-known for being hands-on in every aspect of his work. He had joined Calvin Klein first as a designer in 1998 and rose to his present position in 2002.
While most of the other international designers showing at SFF had flown in a day or two day before their shows, the New York-based Englishman arrived in town five days before his big night.
'I had flown in early because there were so many things to sort out,' he explains.
Apart from getting the right look on the runway, there was getting the right look for the entire setting.
Carrigan calls the original set-up at the Tent@Orchard in front of Ngee Ann City, which had rows of black chairs flanking a raised catwalk, 'disappointing'.
'For such a modern, young city like Singapore, it just feels a little traditional,' he says, sounding genuinely concerned.
What Carrigan wanted was a distinctly New-York and urban feel, where the surroundings are entirely white 'to complement the clothes'.
And, to paraphrase the infamous Calvin Klein tagline, nothing came between Carrigan and his vision.
Within three hours on Sunday, what had been a conventional catwalk space designed to accommodate 800 people was transformed into a giant lounge with white padded boxes for chairs for 500.
The platform catwalk was dumped because in New York, he says, ck has 'never used a raised platform' for its shows.
Roping in Her World's senior fashion and beauty editor Jeanette Ejlersen - whom he has known for three years - to help with styling, Carrigan sent out 76 outfits in shades of grey, white, fuchsia, orange and cyan.
Lycra dresses skim the torso then spread out into light but voluminous trains. Guys get a bit of space-age chic with clean-cut blazer-and-shorts combos that came in metallic-silver.
The ck Calvin Klein trademark was clear - clean yet edgy, urban and sexy.
'I'll tell you how we did it,' Carrigan says.
'It's that magical dust called fashion.'
This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times on Apr 10, 2008.