Calvin Richard Klein (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, he also has given his name to a range of perfumes, watches, and jewellery.
Calvin Klein was born on November 19, 1942, to a Jewish family in the Bronx, the son of Flore (née Stern) (1909–2006) and Leo Klein. His father Leo had immigrated to New York from Hungary, while his mother Flore was born in the United States to immigrants from Galicia and Buchenland, Austrian Empire (modern day-Ukraine).
Klein attended the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan 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 old line cloak-and-suit manufacturer, Dan Millstein, and spent five years designing at other New York City shops. In 1968, he launched his first company with a childhood friend, Barry K. Schwartz.
He 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. He was immediately recognized for his talent after his first major showing at New York Fashion Week. He was hailed as the new Yves Saint Laurent, and was noted for his clean lines.
Calvin Klein married Jayne Centre, a textile designer, in 1964.They have a daughter, Award-winning television producer Marci Klein, who is best known for her work on NBC's Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. They divorced in 1974.
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 he also became the first designer to receive outstanding design in men's and women's wear from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award show. Also in 1981, 1983, and 1993, he received an award from the CFDA.
In 1983, Calvin Klein was placed on the International Best Dressed List.
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, they divorced in April 2006 after 20 years of marriage.
He then had an on-and-off relationship with fashion model Nick Gruber.
In 2003, Klein bought an ocean-front estate in Southampton, New York on Long Island and demolished it to build a $75 million glass-and-concrete mansion. In 2015, he put his Miami Beach, Florida mansion on the market for $16 million. The Florida home sold in February 2017 for $12,850,000. In June 2015, Klein bought a mansion in Los Angeles, California for $25 million.