The Calvin Klein House 1972.
1972. Construction on the Sloan home.
Norton and Marlo Sloan, one of the many heterosexual couples who embraced the somewhat freewheeling culture of the Pines commissioned a luxurious home whose smooth volumes appeared to have washed up on their site. Curved spaces extended, clover like, from a lofty living room animated by the painterly slash of a diagonal stairway. Mirrors created slivers of light above the fireplace.
Positioned opposite full height expanses of glass , mirrored wall brought the ocean view to both sides of the space. A leather ottoman bridged the conversation pit. Outside a lazy- Susan lounge rotated to catch the best rays. For the sun- worshiping Marlo Sloan. Upstairs a DeStijl-like composition of bunk beds housed the Sloan’s four young children. The hard living Sloan’s divorced a few years after the house was built, and Calvin Klein became it’s new owner in 1977.
1980 . At the height of his “Nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s” fame, Klein acquired the lot to the rear of the home and hired architect Horace Gifford to design a pool, gym, a pool boy’s quarters, and a garden. In 1980 Gifford and Klein ventured by seaplane over the frigid waters to survey the property. Here are Gifford’s plans for the pool complex addition:
Gifford lined the pool in black, with a mirror at one end to extend it’s apparent length.Doors to the east of the pool pivoted to expose a grand stair that led down to a grove of mature trees, helicoptered in for instant effect. ( Pool today below.)
Architect Horace Gifford.
After his daughters kidnapping in 1978 he was obsessed with security and privacy. Tall fences outfitted with security systems transformed the former Sloan residence into a compound rather than a house tucked into the dunes.
1985. Hurricane Gloria creates a path of destruction in the Pines and elsewhere.
1980’s Calvin Klein & David Geffen catching some FIP sun.
Media Mogul David Geffen purchased the home in the 1990’s, and became involved in both the community and the growing AIDS crisis.
In Interview magazine Designer Marc Jacobs interviews Calvin about Fire Island:
JACOBS: In fact, you won’t remember this at all. But first, when I was 15 years old, I was hanging out at Fiorucci on 59th between Park and Lexington, and I saw you with your daughter, so I went up to you and told you what a big fan of yours I was. So then when I was 16 or 17, I had a boyfriend, and I was going out to his house at Fire Island, and you were in a house very close by. So I saw you and Robert and Chester out there … But you didn’t know me—I just saw you.
KLEIN: The house that I had on Fire Island was one of the sexiest houses I think I’ve ever owned.
JACOBS: Well, it was also the sexiest times in the history of the world.
KLEIN: It was amazing. But the house was the ultimate hedonist house. I mean, it was made for sex.
JACOBS: On the ultimate hedonist island.
KLEIN: I thought, God, this works perfectly—wave them in, whatever. [both laugh] Actually, it turns out that a book just came out on Horace Gifford, who was the architect who did a bunch of houses on Fire Island. I bought the house behind me, tore it down, and worked with Horace, who was a beauty when he was young … He had modeled—there’s a picture of him in the book. But the book talks about how he built these houses because he lived on Fire Island for the lifestyle, for what everyone wanted out of the Pines. So the houses were built for that. It’s so interesting because clothes, makeup, everything that we do—it all comes from somewhere. It’s a reflection, hopefully, of what you want, or what you think people want. But it has to come from you in the end.
Calvin Klein copy courtesy of: Fire Island Modernist by Christopher Rawlins.