Some people have unconventional notions of falling in love. Backstagebefore his Calvin Klein Collection show, Francisco Costa described howhe was taken by a pivotal scene in “Ivan’s Childhood,” AndreiTarkovskiy’s 1962 Russian film in which two characters discover theirfeelings for one another in a bare forest setting (cue the birchwoodbenches, a first at Calvin). “When they are falling in love, it was allabout the coat,” Costa said. “That’s so fitting to the house becausethat’s how Calvin started.”

The Soviet influence translated into adistinct military bent, particularly with the first few suits anddresses. Worked in mostly black and navy, they were rendered in a faintplaid with vinyl inserts that added a patentlike surface sheen. Thebleak nature of the era was also reflected via some bulky coats. Costamade a powerful statement with lots of leather, accentuated shoulders ontailored pieces and several oversize silhouettes in stiffer fabrics. Hecountered this almost workmanlike sensibility with sexy bandeau topsthat were wrapped in the back. One version in a forest green was teamedwith voluminous pleated pants that read M.C. Hammer, yet they lookedsexy, never gimmicky.

Throughout, Costa played withinterpretations of plaid and grids. For one variation, he worked withmills to develop a weave technique that rendered perfect cutouts onflannels and wools. Other surface decoration was minimal. On a recenttrip to Japan, the designer found tiny hinges in a hardware store. Theyinspired adornments that were inserted graphically into a gridlikepattern on, for instance, a leather V-neck dress.

Even if thedrilling sounds on the soundtrack suggested otherwise, the overalleffect of the collection wasn’t raw, but ultrasophisticated.

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