The stars showed up, bare legged and in suede even in spite of the Polar Vortex’s crude return. And if they were expecting something akin to last season’s spectacular, multi-colored cross-hatch weaving work and the pants that were cuffed at least a foot from the floor but still touched the floor — which perplexed onlookers in the same way a David Foster Wallace sentence might stop a reader short — they were freezing in the wrong direction.
But isn’t that disconnect the magic of Calvin Klein at the helm of Francisco Costa, who last season successfully championed ten years at the house and this season opened the gates to a new decade brimming with decidedly youthful decadence?
Yes, of course it is.
For a label where old house tradition is imbued with a polished take on modern elegance evinced through streamlined pants that often elevate a woman’s stance, an important point of detail seems to appear in the absence of the aforementioned.
Instead, the clothes shown today took the form of predominantly mid-length skirts and dresses, though there were two instances where wide-leg culottes (close enough) were coupled with sheer knit turtleneck sweaters. This slapped a stamp of approval on a grand motif this season: hand-covering sleeves. And it only looks right because the shoulder seams remain in line with the women’s shoulders-in-earnest. This seems like a detail that might go overlooked.
For such a trend to run through a considerable number of collections could mean a number of things but in the case of Calvin Klein, it stands as a testament to the rest of the 90s influenced collection (doesn’t the decade belong to Klein anyway?) with its sheer underlays and fuzzy flared long coats, which mirrored the silhouettes created by Costa’s waist belts, maintaing the thick of Calvin Klein’s feminine spirit.
There were also Doc Martens shown in horsehair with silver laces. That no one has yet thought to cover the ubiquitous boots in a fabric that arguably defines the echelons of luxury with chain laces that make the layman cotton look inadequate seems to be another point of victory for Costa.
Frankly, though, where I’m most impressed isn’t really in the notion that when you see the clothes move, you have no choice but to follow them with your eye. Or, for that matter, in my feeling like when the show ended, a seminal moment materializing in my mind was being cut short. How does that seemingly plebeian fabric do what it does? Swing that way? Hold its shape? Why didn’t I think to put a thick tweed collar on a tea-length dress or tuck my hair (and bottom lip) into a short sleeve turtleneck as evidently, all cool girls do?
It’s fascinating that these clothes, all of his clothes, really, remain so obviously Costa — like they belong to him and have been so clearly created using his needle even when they’re not referential at all.
It occurred to me yesterday that I’ve been placing designers in two pockets all season — one for those who continue to create what they’re good at and another for those who test foreign waters to determine whether they can withstand the unfamiliar. Somehow, Francisco Costa treads the line somewhere in between, aware of his proficiencies and comfortable, unafraid to confront his purported deficiencies to create, almost every single time, a penultimate fashion week kicker worth trekking through ten inches of snow to see.