Francisco Costa has been making a strong case for fabric development in recent collections, a savvy and necessary direction for a designer of his level. Costa demonstrated this idea again for fall with a confident collection that was based almost entirely on knitwear rendered in innovative and beautiful new ways. It was a bold departure that distorted the rules of minimalism with unexpected depth.

Backstage before the show, Costa cited the childhood portraits of German photographer Loretta Lux as inspiration. The surreal images informed the vibe of the pieces, from the comforting silhouettes to the soft texture plays. The designer may think of the clothes as childlike, and indeed there was a charming naïveté here, but he channeled them with polish and sophistication.

 

That was especially true with the gorgeous outerwear in fuzzy surface treatments and with glass clasp details. A white coat with a pin closure read shearling but was actually a mohair-and-cashmere knit. Costa also used hand-painted Scottish yarns for lean, multicolored dresses such as the Fair Isle sleeveless one as well as a turtleneck top in a mix of knits, shown with a white open-weave mohair skirt. There was something artisanal about these looks — in the most positive sense of the word. The intricate workmanship, some of it in gradient hues embedded with ultrafine sequins, was remarkable.

Costa described his fall woman as “kind of a gypsy, very youthful and very urban.” Add warm and inviting to that. On this particularly icy, snowy and slushy afternoon, one couldn’t have asked for more.

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