Before the actor and musician attended his first Calvin Klein 205W39NYC runway show, we tagged along as he picked some Raf Simons-designed threads to wear for the big night.
Jeff Goldblum has entered sacred territory. That’s what he calls this building: 205 West 39th Street—also known as Calvin Klein headquarters. Goldblum, his stylist Andrew T. Vottero, and a select crew from the company’s communications team are here to find the actor and musician an outfit to wear to tomorrow’s C.K. runway show, where Simons will debut his Spring/Summer 2019 collection for the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC label.
It begins with Goldblum getting a tour of the pieces that have been pulled for the occasion. As you might expect, Jeff Goldblum reacting to a rail of rarified menswear does not disappoint.
A calico patchwork shirt from the Fall 2018 collection receives an affirmative “yes.” It’s Goldblum’s go-to bit of feedback, said in a whisper with the ‘s’ drawn out and anywhere from one to four yeses after it. Sometimes an “oh” precedes the “yes,” but not always. Triangle patches on an oversized button-up are “delicious.” The stiff cuffs and point collar on a purple plaid shirt are “fantastic.” He reacts with a cooing “OOOOOOooooooooo” to a pair of chocolate brown satin pants. He’s quick to notice their cut is fuller than the drainpipe leg he’s used to. “Incredible,” “Spectacular,” and what can best be repeated back as an “Mmmmmm. Mmmm. Mm. Mm. Mmmm. Mmmmmm,” followed for various shirts and sweaters. When we hit the pieces featuring Andy Warhol prints, Goldblum drops that he met the artist once while being photographed by him. “He was taking pictures of all of us,” Goldblum recounts. “It was 1983, I think. At the premiere of The Big Chill in New York.” And then the kicker: an “Oh boy oh boyyyyy” for a tweedy double-breasted suit with side stripe trousers. Jeff Goldblum really loves him some Calvin Klein. Which makes sense, given his recent forays into fashion.
At some point, post The Life Aquatic but pre Independence Day: Resurgence—circa 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel—Goldblum evolved from handsome-actor-who-looked-good-in-clothes type to bonadfide Stylish Man™. Suddenly we were paying as much attention to what Goldblum was wearing as we were to the scenes he was stealing (see: Thor: Ragnarok). His brand of jazz cat hipster dad style is rare among Hollywood types: it feels in line with Goldblum’s personal tastes. This is the product of an easy partnership: “For the last four years, I defer to him,” Goldblum says of his relationship with Vottero. Goldblum appreciates having the guiding hand of a stylist more than anything because, as becomes clear, he likes everything. “When I used to go [shopping] by myself I’d spend hours trying things on. I used to pester girlfriends and wives, telling them about T-shirts, asking them, ‘what do you think?’” Now he just text messages Vottero when he’s thinking of T-shirts or leather jackets or loafers. “I can’t wear [him] out and [he] can’t wear me out. We’re both equally excited.”
These days the duo is fired up about plenty, particularly Goldblum’s upcoming jazz album. Neither wanted to give too much away, but with a world tour (Paris, Berlin, London and more) and a fashion plate status to uphold, there are big things in the works. (Yes, there will be Jeff Goldblum-related merch).
Before then, he has to find some grail-level Raf Simons-designed Calvin Klein to wear. Goldblum appreciates Simons taking inspiration from American uniforms for some of his designs. The actor has always had a sartorial soft spot for workwear gear. “I’ve always gone by uniform stores and wondered, ‘Why can’t I dress like that?’” At 17, Goldblum explains, he was the proud owner a “beige kind of khaki-colored onesie” procured from a uniform shop when he arrived in New York City. And before Raf made them cool, Goldblum owned more than one pair of marching band-style pants. ( Vottero is quick to mention that they got rid of those almost immediately).
The boys hit on a black-and-white two-tone satin shirt and brown trousers in a matching fabric for the show. (Among a few backups: the oversized distressed Wile E. Coyote sweater from Simons’s Warner Bros. collaboration that’s just hitting stores.)
This will be Jeff Goldblum’s second fashion show. The first was a lifetime ago: an Armani show, “in the late ‘80s, perhaps early ‘90s,” he recalls. “I went because Mr. Armani invited me to the show.” The whole thing was a surprise—he hadn’t realized it was a menswear show. “I took my friend at the time; the two of us thought, ‘Hey, a fashion show! Some model ladies,” he says excitedly. “I don’t how we didn’t get the word. Only when it started did we get it.”
Once actor, stylist, and tailor agree on a hem that’s aggressive compared to the actor’s usual length but miles away from drapey goth territory, Goldblum decrees the look “is the new me.” And what does the new Jeff Goldblum expect to witness wearing his new threads? He literally gasps. “Well, that it’s a surprise, would be the answer. That’s my favorite thing. I feel like an immigrant on the shores of some new land—and it will be tripled tomorrow.”
At the show, the opening scene from Jaws plays out on panels canvassing the room. It’s 360 degrees of Spielberg-ian tension on a loop, cut only when the parade of models in rolled-down wetsuits and blazers begins. In what is becoming the Simons-at-Calvin tradition, the collection is familiar in its source material and entirely original in its execution. Caps and gowns get a fashion upgrade, tailored jackets come in hulked-out proportions, and wetsuit bottoms are the new skinny jeans. And Goldblum loves all of it, from The Graduate references (one of his favorite movies) to the cinematic presentation to “the different variations of the man’s oversized sport coat on the men and the women.” Goldblum may be an ambassador for precision tailoring these days, but two-plus decades ago, the actor was an icon of slouchy tailoring. His fits then nearly mirrored what was on the runway. And he’s game for to wear it all come 2019, wetsuit included.
As for how it compared to his expectations for the night, Goldblum calls the show “a moonshot” that “went beyond our galaxy.” (The Grandmaster of Sakaar would know.) His final verdict for the show, his Raf-designed fit, and the whole fashion week experience? The only possible answer, if you’re Jeff Goldblum: “10 Goldblums out of a possible 10 Goldblums.”
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