“Look how gorgeous,” Francisco Costa said, flipping through a tome on California’s Semina culture, the midcentury literary and art movement identified (or perhaps created) by Wallace Berman. “They all lived in this commune, but the clothes are extraordinary.” Maybe so, but what comes across more than any specific message about clothes is one of attitude — casual, sensual, offbeat, a little intimidating (some of us can’t even dream of that level of cool).

Costa captured the confident ease (sans intimidation factor) in shapes that swung Sixties and Seventies with a shot of Nineties street attitude derived, he said, “from the cool of Kate at Calvin.” The clothes ranged from languid to crisply tailored with an emphasis on collages for knits, leathers and suedes — and a strong serving of sexy. The selection Costa edited for press felt young and very fresh, yet it melded seamlessly into the larger collection, much of it updates on recent bestsellers. “We have a lot of knitwear, trousers, jackets,” he said. “Light colors did extremely well this season, so we deliberately brought them back. It made sense.” Good sense and fashion, too — the best kind of pre-fall.

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