In American fashion, there are only a few seminal brands-brands that become a part of our culture, not just our closets. And thanks to Italo Zucchelli, Calvin Klein Collection's design director, Calvin Klein will remain one of those iconic brands.

I sat down with this quiet design force one rainy New York morning and tried to piece together just how an Italian does American fashion-better than we Americans.

NB: Guys have no time. And even less patience. How is it you have managed to perpetuate such a successful brand for such a difficult audience?

IZ: We know that guys don't have time, and they hate to shop. So we design inspirational yet approachable clothing, uncomplicated pieces with clean details, that a guy can actually wear. It's all about an understandable elegance that doesn't require him to ask his girlfriend if it's OK to buy.

NB: How do you express yourself with so few details-with such minimalism?

IZ: The Calvin Klein Collection is about essential classics, which means designs with as few fussy details as possible. I essentialize: I boil style down to its essence. Often, my style is derived from the most basic, classic American things, like jeans or a biker jacket, or even a T-shirt-stuff a guy can hang out in while retaining his masculinity.

NB:Calvin Klein is unique in that it provides a guy with a full range of apparel- undergarments, sportswear, denim, tailored, formalwear. And all of it still seems to have a consistently minimalist influence. How do you keep it so unified?

IZ: At the end of the day, Calvin Klein is about making you look and feel right from the inside out- from the underwear and T-shirts you have on to the trousers and the blazer you might be wearing-so that you can walk through your day knowing you were right when you put your clothes on that morning.