Getting Ready

The Unexpected Item Brooke Shields Wore to the Calvin Klein Show

It was only $13.

By: Samantha Sutton
Photography: Alec Kugler

If 500 Days of Summer taught us anything, it’s that expectation rarely lines up with reality. So was the case when we walked into Brooke Shields’ NYC home an hour before she left for Calvin Klein’s Spring ’18 show. While one might assume it’d be all about hair, makeup, and finding the perfect accessories, Brooke and her team were busy working…to help solve her daughter’s math homework. This was all in between spritzes, brush strokes, and an “is this see-through?” style dilemma.

The chaotic situation was actually quite telling: Brooke is often—and rightfully so—labeled an icon, but she isn’t *just* an icon. She’s a Princeton grad, a true fan of fashion, and, most importantly, a doting mom (one who has a very practical tip for dealing with high heel pain).

While we stayed away from anything to do with fractions, we did play fly-on-the-wall as Brooke prepped for the event, asking her about the brand, her original CK campaign, and the outfit she wore while sitting front row.

On working with Calvin Klein and whether it feels like family after all these years:

“It’s gotten to be so much more of a family because of [creative director] Raf [Simons]. His respect and sort of homage to that era, while also not making it derivative, is, I think, part of the beauty of his talent. I’ve felt more included in the whole experience than 37 years ago. I don’t feel just as if I’ve been hired to…model the stuff. The fact that it’s predominantly the label that hired [me] has made my communication, my friendship, my sort of representation with them much more organic. I’m not in any of the ads, yet every single magazine, every single layout that I’ve been doing, they’re only having me in Calvin, so everybody thinks I’m actually modeling the brand.”

If she’d ever star in another CK campaign:

“Yes! I’ve been walking around in my underwear hoping somebody... No, I’m kidding! Sort of not kidding. I think this was a clever way of bringing me back into the fold. I’m sure if there is an organic expansion of that, Raf would think of a non-derivative, non-imitation something. I think he would be the one to be able to find a smart way of [putting me in ads].”

On her original and iconic ads:

“I think most things that become iconic can never be expected, and a pet peeve of mine is when someone says, ‘We’re going to do some really iconic photos.’ You’re like, ‘Wow…are you God? You must be, because you know these things. Or some future-seer.’ We knew we were doing something different because of the nature of diversity in the commercials, and the seemingly random messages, which I hadn’t really seen yet—the sort of play on words. It was the first time they ever had a film cinematographer do these commercials, and a fashion print photographer transitioning sort of into more art and cinema—that had never really happened before. We definitely felt there was an energy around it. We knew something was, at least, ours and unique, and from a team of really forward-thinking, bright, creative individuals.”

About Raf Simons and her outfit for the fashion show:

“I just never would have thought that I would have been able to pull this off or wear something like this. I’m just amazed that Raf can take something that has structure, or take something that has bulk, and still make it sexy and feminine. That’s not easy to do. Or to take something that is seemingly or traditionally considered male and, without making it androgynous, make it both feminine and masculine. To me, that’s such an art, such a technique.”

How she’d describe her everyday style:

“I’ve spent the last decades always thinking I had to have one style. But I’m not one [type of] person. I’ve been frustrated because I thought I had to be like that, or I had to look like that, and OK, they’re telling me to wear this. There are little bits across the board. Just the other day, I wore this floral, beautiful flowy dress that is unlike the things that I wear, and I felt wonderful in it. Tonight, it’s much edgier, much more daring, and I feel like that’s equally me. I immediately felt comfortable in it when I tried it on.”

How the getting-ready process isn’t what it seems like:

“This is pressure to me. But I’ve learned over the years that to alleviate the pressure, I call in the troops. The cavalry comes in, and they all start whipping out their tricks. The difference now is instead of doing my homework, which I always used to do, I’m helping my kids with theirs. I wish that I had the kind of lifestyle where it was just sort of a daily occurrence, but really, who’s got the time? I can’t really do my hair that well, and I’ve made everybody remind me not to pretend I’m a makeup artist. But I do think people misconstrue this as...fun. This is a job. This is more of a stress than ‘Ooh I’m getting ready for the prom.’ There’s an excitement, but it’s more of a relief when it’s over and you haven’t had a major problem.”

On keeping a pair of flats in her bag (and leaving the house in them)!:

“I like those little flats that you get at CVS. I also have the most broken-up, beaten-up [feet]. There are pins, there are staples, there are fused bones from dancing. And I’m a 6-foot-tall woman on a smaller foot. Those feet have not been happy carrying this for this many years. It’s about pain, but I will suffer through anything if the heel is beautiful [laughs]. But once the photo op is over, I’m in my flats.”

The one thing she’d never leave the house without:

“The nod of approval from my girls. They have to go, ‘You look good, Mom.’ You’re like, ok, phew. That’s the honest answer. It used to be ‘one thing.’ Now, it’s if I look at myself and feel prouder, taller, and just ready to own it. It’s when I doubt or judge and pick myself apart that I realize something’s either not right in my head or on my body.”

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