In partnership with Calvin Klein
On Thursday, October 12, RUSSH flew south to host an intimate evening with our July digital cover star Gemma Ward at the Calvin Klein Melbourne Central store. As members of our community filed into the space, they were greeted with trays of canapes and flutes of sparkling wine, before sitting down for a candid conversation between Ward and RUSSH editor in chief, Jess Blanch. Together, the pair discussed Ward's early modelling career – which includes becoming the face of Calvin Klein's fragrance Obsession Night and walking the Fall 2016 Calvin Klein menswear runway – acting, and the evolution of personal style.
This was followed by a styling session, where Ward and Blanch walked the guests through their favourite pieces from the recent Calvin Klein collection, noting its abundance of versatile tailoring, crisp basics and sensual cuts, including a relaxed black suit worn on the night by Blanch, while Ward donned a silky blouse, jacket and set of split-hem leggings.
In images lensed by Olivia Repaci, Gemma Ward models a suite of eight looks from the Calvin Klein collection, all of which ripple with personality thanks to the effortless styling of Hannah Cooper. There's a set of silk pajamas, which merge corporate and domestic codes, a masterfully cut white shirt that harmonises with every piece in the collection, while a little black dress adds a touch of Jane Birkin's bohemian glam. Denim rears its head in refreshed and reimagined silhouettes, from a cropped trucker jacket to wide-legged jeans that reflect the current trends. The overall effect is a capsule that complements our existing wardrobes.
It was an evening of spoken truths, vulnerability, and nostalgia, led by Ward as she reflected on the most memorable times of her career thus far. Find snippets of her conversation with Jess Blanch, below.
On shooting with Mario Sorrenti for Calvin Klein's Obsession Night campaign...
"I had worked with Mario before on a Jill Stuart campaign, so we had a really great relationship and the team felt like a little family. I obviously felt pressure for such a big project but I was also just so excited as I'd never shot a fragrance before. We drove in a little car altogether as a team across the border to Mexico, and we shot at a studio that was built specifically for the Titanic, because they needed to do night shoots in water and so they built this tank. It was really cute little town, there was all this Titanic paraphernalia everywhere. It was a dream.
"As a model, you'll always aspire to a fragrance or makeup. But for me, looking at the Calvin Klein commercials with Natalia Vodianova, they were the height of advertising. I always wanted to do a Calvin Klein campaign."
On her favourite Calvin Klein pieces over the years...
"There was one jacket that they [Calvin Klein] gave me, it was a 60s mod sort of jacket... But I did go back many years later and I did a menswear show with Mariacarla Boscono, who's another model I absolutely adore, and Jessica Miller and a few other models that I've worked with previously. It was really incredible. So we were all there together and we got to keep the outfits from the show. So we walked in them and then we walked off the runway into the street with the outfits and there were these amazing tailored coats – I mean Calvin Klein does such great tailoring. I feel like their menswear is as strong as their womenswear. I used to always shop in the menswear section, so Calvin Klein is my dream: you can shop in the menswear and womenswear and go between..."
On her off-duty style...
"It's funny when you think back to how you dressed as a teen. I remember being a teenager and I was given a lot of clothes but they're not necessarily clothes you would've chosen. But then you tried to style them and wear them backstage and I was definitely experimenting. But the model off-duty thing was really starting to become a thing back then, because it was the beginning of the internet culture and blogs."
On advice from Gisele Bündchen...
"I guess there are people who play with their own personal style and then there's the signature model off-duty look, like jeans and a t-shirt. Gisele would tell me 'only wear a t-shirts and jeans, and never pay for anything'. But I've always loved to experiment with style."
On the evolution of her personal style...
"I'm still quite eccentric, but I've always been relaxed and very Australian. But for me, fashion is all about your circumstance; where you're going, what you're dressing for. It's interesting as a woman, because I feel like you end up needing quite a lot of outfits for different times in your life and different events that you go to... you end up having many items in your wardrobe. There's something really nice about paring it back and being more minimal and the essentials, but at the end of the day, we also need to dress for certain events."
"Having been a model for so long, I can't shake that desire to morph into characters. I like having a signature style but I also am very drawn to the power of putting on an outfit and having that transform how you're feeling."
"I fell in love with acting when I was really young. At seven, I begged my mum to get me an agent. I did some plays at a young age and for some reason I was obsessed with being onstage and transforming into another character, just gave, it just changed my life."
Take a peek inside the evening's festivities, hosted by RUSSH and Calvin Klein, below.
Explore the latest Calvin Klein collection online or at the Melbourne Central store.