Even if you weren’t planning on stopping by Calvin Klein’s flagship store this week, do it to play with the balloons. The freshly redesigned store — complete with its bright yellow scaffolding and broken-down (on purpose) mannequins — is always eye-catching. But until February 28, it’ll have a little something extra. The label created silver mylar balloons with some of Warhol’s most iconic paintings printed on them to reimagine his “Silver Clouds” installation. It’s part of an ongoing partnership between Calvin Klein and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Warhol’s “Silver Clouds” was his farewell to painting in 1966. He said when it was unveiled that the only way to say good-bye to the medium was to create a painting that floats. The original piece consisted of 15 pillow-like balloons bouncing around his Factory. The Calvin Klein flagship multiplied that number several times to create their effect for the installation, titled “Paintings That Float: Warhol’s ‘Silver Clouds,’ Revisited.” The Warhol images were also used in the latest Calvin Klein 205W9NYC’s runway collection as prints for dresses, scarves, and tank tops.
Throughout the day, the balloons tend to migrate to the top of the third floor, and in the morning some are refreshed with an injection of helium to restore them to their bouncy glory. When someone opens the double doors to the store, the gust of wind blows the balloons into a frenzy, inviting the customer into a fantastical world. Like a grown-up ball pit, they’re meant to be played with, despite their macabre images.
At the very least, it’s pretty visually striking to see Dennis Hopper’s face go bouncing by on a balloon next to some blinged-out cowboy boots. If Raf Simons’s latest collection for the label showcases a new Americana, the silver balloon clouds at the flagship are artistic tumbleweeds.