The dawn of a new decade. A raw new venue. A powerful sensibility. Marking his 10th anniversary designing Calvin Klein Collection, Francisco Costa didn’t revisit his greatest hits. Instead, he advanced his stamp on the house with several different directions, the sum of which provided an impressive take on Calvin Klein’s modernist codes.
The strength came in the diversity of Costa’s approach, from the architectural shapes — a clear comfort zone for the designer — to the masterful fabric manipulation, a dose of streety chic and even some unexpected (and daring) touches of razzle-dazzle that were anything but minimalist. But more on that later.
Backstage before the show, Costa explained that he was channeling a multitude of artistic influences, from Pablo Picasso and Jean-Michel Basquiat to Gordon Matta-Clark, the American artist who was known for taking significant sections out of abandoned buildings or chopping them in half.
“Maybe it’s slightly out of the box for us,” Costa said. “I think we took a chance.” One that paid off.
He started with a riff on complex cuts and draping, some with exposed folds in contrast colors, like the slices of orange on a beige double-face canvas jacket and skirt. He also focused on the waist, often with wide bands placed strategically below the torso, most notably on slouchy, denimlike painter’s pants that skimmed the floor.
Throughout, there were fascinating details, which required a closer viewing and may not have benefited from the cool, vast space at Spring Studios. Costa worked transparency to substantial, not flimsy, effect: One oversize silk and nylon T-shirt looked like mesh but felt as soft as cashmere, while a jacket that read tweed, with vibrant threads dangling from its hem, was actually a beautifully woven leather. As for a colorful striped coat, Costa pieced together fine snakeskin strips, an inventive expression of modern luxury.
That the customer who appreciates such luxury may also enjoy a little noise is something that must not go unnoticed by Costa, who had several gorgeous dresses that were finely frayed like fringe — the strongest iteration a black-and-white evening dress with Twenties flapper flash. If they gave any indication of Costa’s future direction at the house, that future is looking bright.