Calvin Klein’s newly-released book turns the spotlight on black style

Written by Staff Writer by Ellen Barry, CNN

Swedish photographer Calvin Klein is rediscovering a celebration of black style and beauty in the vein of Jacques Tati’s quixotic, yet charmingly whimsical 2002 French comedy “Le Bonheur”.

It has been 15 years since he originally published the 122-page book “Coco Chanel: The Art of Sublimation,” featuring sharply dressed black models on the runways of Paris in the 1930s, with its odd riddle book cover and Coco Chanel’s childish voice (curiously apposite for the name of the film).

Initially, Klein believed that only black men and women would appreciate the book — and to that end did not seek formal permission from the Agence Francaise to license images from the French embassy in Sweden.

This strategy backfired, after several photographers and fashion magazines pursued Klein, asking him to remove offending images.

He finally withdrew the book in August 2002.

Now, 15 years later, Klein has returned to the theme. He is launching the picture book “Black Glow: The Art of the Sublimation,” which, with its text by author and photographer Dania Guarino, reads like a celebration of the fierce and startling beauty of black models, plus a sideways examination of trans-racial aesthetics.

The simple cover depicts a model wearing a black T-shirt with a black crescent moon printed across her stomach.

CNN Style spoke to Klein and Guarino about their upcoming book, which is not due out until April.

“The subtitle of the book says it all. The black eyeliner as a way of holding and drawing attention to your black eyes, not your Black face, your Black ab!…” – Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein “One of the questions posed by the book is, do you want to be white, or are you white?” — Dania Guarino, book author

Claudia Abramy, CNN

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