In the five years since Calvin Klein’s departure from his eponymous design house Francesco Costa has steadily refined his vision of the Klein look. Moving from the traditional very Calvinized sportswear, to an almost Helmut Lang-esque vision of futurism Costa struggled along the way to find a balance between his influencers, his own sensibilities and the iconic image behind the Klein brand. The conflict was of course fleeting – Costa hit his stride at Calvin with a series of expressively minimal collections and a CFDA award for his mantle.
Success is of course a double edged sword – now that Costa has redefined Calvin Klein for a new generation the epic “what’s next?” hangs in the air. The gauzy pieces Costa showed for Spring/Summer represented an aesthetic all his own but the oversized parchment textured dresses with their origami folds were a tad difficult – not to comprehend but simply to wear. When a coat succeeds in making the svelte Toni Garrn look shapeless one has to whether or not it has any application in real life. As beautiful as many of the Klein pieces were there is the sense that this experimentation with shape – bulging angular bits of fabric inflating waists, angular pockets enlarging hips into jagged rectangles – proves unwieldy in reality.
That said, even the most unwearable pieces are staggeringly beautiful. The hits (and there are several) provide some of the most intelligent interpretations of minimalism seen thus far this season. In particular the almost eldritch sheer silver layered pieces stand out as triumphs. The final cocktail dresses with their unstructured forms and folded detailing were also surefire hits – one only wishes there had been a few more of them.