It Seems Like Yesterday: Calvin Klein (Video)

When I arrived at Calvin Klein’s New York office to photograph him in 1977, the idea was to take one quick photograph of him alone. Yet, before I could get my camera out of the camera bag, a beautiful woman walked in. A few minutes later, another, then another, and finally a fourth.

Klein had arranged for his four favorite superstar models to be there for the photograph. It was a no-brainer—four beautiful women surrounding him would make people stop and look at the picture—and, of course, I was delighted to see that he had arranged the surprise.

These four sophisticates are not only beautiful, sexy, and successful, they typify the sensuous image of the “Calvin Klein woman.” Incredibly, they look as modern today as they did 40 years ago when the photograph was taken.

Not only a favorite of Klein, Shaun Casey was the face of Estée Lauder in the early ’80s. Calvin graciously designed her wedding gown, which I imagine was a most welcome perk.

Patti Hansen and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards married in 1983. Their beautiful daughters, Theodora and Alexandra, have followed in their mother’s footsteps. The three look like sisters when photographed together.

Lisa Taylor went on to act in films, including the 1978 noir thriller Eyes of Laura Mars, which starred Faye Dunaway.

When they first met in the early ’70s, Janice Dickinson’s dark beauty caused Eileen Ford to allegedly say she was “much too ethnic” to be successful. Several years later, Janice joined the Ford Modeling Agency, so I guess Eileen changed her mind. Never one to rest on past laurels, Janice has written books and enlivened the judging on TV’s America’s Next Top Model.

My wife, Gigi, came across this photograph of Calvin with his muses when researching the archives for my forthcoming book, Harry Benson: Persons of Interest (powerHouse Books), which will be out this month. And I’m glad she did.