What does Calvin Klein stand for? Well, it's all in the moniker coined for him in the seventies - Calvin Clean, a summary of his style as concise and precise as his resolutely minimalism and yet all-American sportswear. And that's exactly what his successor, Italo Zucchelli, bases his Calvin Klein menswear collections around.
Klein may have been a minimalist, however, but he was no futurist. Zucchelli, on the other hand, is obsessed with moving forward. He's looking to clothe the man of tomorrow rather than today - in theory, that's what fashion is all about, but in practise sometimes Zucchelli can run ahead too fast for the rest of us to keep up with.
His Spring 2012 collection fused sportswear sic-fi: for every softly-tailored athletic trouser and easy vest-top there was a shiny white skinny two-button suit, or clinically precise trench-coat, laser-cut and seemingly without fastenings. At second glance, those athletic trousers weren't that easy - chopped out of leather, which also formed neat tabard-like t-shirts that stood proud from the body, in pharmaceutical shades of spearmint green and murky sulphur, worn with sunglasses that looked like Raybans crossed with safety-goggles (or petri-dishes, for that matter). Distressed denim felt like more familiar Klein territory, but even this was cut with a surgical precision, the end result more like clinical scrubs than casualwear.
That denim highlights one of the most refreshing thing about Zucchelli's Klein: while playing with the codes of Calvin old, it never feels as if we're seeing a retro rehash. Everything on this catwalk had a link to Calvin old, but forged ahead to define Klein anew. That's what's often unsettling about it: familiar styles would be far easier to digest, but Zucchelli's all about the new. And, of course, that's what marks you out as a leader of the pack rather than a follower.