Minimalism is a loaded term – it means different things to different people. For some minimalism goes back to the razor thin slip dresses of the mid-nineties, for others the architectural Japanese designers who took the trend to it’s next level. For Francesco Costa, minimalism is the future. He has in some ways abandoned the original Calvin aesthetic of basic American sportswear in favor of something more daring and challenging. Costa’s vision of Calvin pre-fall ( Calvin Klein Prefall 09 Slideshow ) is razor sharp, unembellished and as severe as it is serene. If this calls to mind any major designers work it would have to be Helmut Lang’s. The prerequisite toughness is there, not to mention Lang’s undeniably forward looking perspective.
Highlights of Calvin pre-fall include a seres of jet black sheaths – some slinky and some serious and boxy jackets with angular shoulder pads worthy of Alexis Carrington. The shapes were long and lean – exaggerated with zip up booties and platform pumps. Everything is elongated – which makes the ensembles equal parts flattering and difficult. The omnipresent almost jodhpur paints with fabric gathered at the hips and a tapered leg are appealing but the look requires a certain diligence. Such detailing my prove unwieldy for those with smaller statures but as with the similarly difficult humpty dumpty-esque pants of YSL F/W 08 where there is a will there is a wearer and these beautifully constructed pants will surely find an audience.
Fit foibles aside there is an element to the collection that is wonderfully feminine. Though the collection relies predominantly on foreboding and almost militaristic touches, there are moments of softness. The dainty little suits – almost reminiscent of Theyskens’ Rochas are exceptionally well done. The final series of dresses is as fluid and graceful as anything on the line has ever produced. Though the clothes are mid season there is no decrease in quality or vision. Aside from two rather unfortunate forays into green sequins everything Costa presents pushes the brand forward into compelling territory.