Resonant: “Even after the performance is over, I realize that you still have to service it. I’ll be in a coffee shop and someone will come up to me and just open a vein…telling me how this struck a nerve for them, what their experience was." ⠀ —@MahershalaAli, the Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor, wearing the 100% Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt and Cotton Stretch Trunk with Slim Cut Jeans. ⠀ The Spring ’17 Men’s Calvin Klein Underwear Campaign, photographed by Willy Vanderperre.
Star power: For nearly 20 years @MahershalaAli has toiled in television and film—or, as he put it, “working 16 years to be an overnight sensation." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, wearing the 100% Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Spring ’17 Men’s Calvin Klein Underwear Campaign, photographed by Willy Vanderperre.
Future so bright: “It’s only a shame that this isn’t a franchise. It would be so great to get everyone back together. I did have the idea that we do a prequel, though. It’d be called Sunlight.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —The Academy Award-winning @mahershalaali on a prequel America could get behind, wearing the 100% Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Spring ’17 Men’s Calvin Klein Underwear Campaign, photographed by Willy Vanderperre.
It’s not just Mahershala. Raf Simons is the new creative head of Calvin Klein. And he loves Moonlight. So he collaborated with the cast and dressed several cast members, including Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Alex R Hibbert in custom Calvin Klein at the Oscars – the first time Raf’s designs were for Calvin Klein were represented on a red carpet.
And then he collaborated with the men of Moonlight to be featured in the new Calvin Klein underwear campaign. What makes this EXTRA amazing is the message behind the campaign. The label explains it like this:
"Since the beginning, Calvin Klein’s underwear imagery has always made big statements about masculinity; the performances of these actors in Moonlight affected us deeply and made big statements about masculinity in a different way. Somehow we wanted to bring the two together."
As noted several times already, Moonlight is about the consequences – sometimes tragic – of toxic male masculinity. And it’s also a meditation on what can happen when male relationships are reimagined, how men can and will connect differently, and more profoundly, when unencumbered by the restraints of conventional masculine expectation.
Calvin Klein is (trying to) recognise here that their brand has represented narrow interpretations of masculinity in the past – and is offering, through the spirit of Moonlight, to help change that conversation. Yet another example of how Moonlight has moved the needle, how art can inspire change.