MFW: COSTUME NATIONAL S/S 2014

As long as I’ve been paying attention to fashion, Costume National has been a Parisian brand. Designer Ennio Capasa moved the label to Paris shortly after its launch in 1086, but never has done too well dueling for attention with big Parisian houses. Today, he brought the line back home to Milan and the welcoming reception was of excitement and thunderous applause.

In many ways, it really feels as though Capasa is starting over. Set in a venue of glass-walled construction, the largely monochrome collection consisted of well tailored, and at times tightly fitting slacks, over more spacious tops deconstructed from masculine designs. Indeed, it often seems as though Capaza looked at a jacket on his dress form and took a pair of sheers to all the places that weren’t absolutely necessary. The effect is liberating, though, and one might wonder if the silhouettes are not a metaphor for stripping away the parts of life that are not necessary.

Compared to previous seasons, this Costume National collection is a bit more conservative. While there are some deep plunges and plenty of backless pieces, Capasa has avoided indulging in the trend for sheer. Only one blouse seriously applied the technique. For the remainder of the collection, Ennio relies on cut and styling to provide whatever level of sexiness fits the wearer.

There is a moment where the collection steps away from the black and white to indulge in a very bright yellow (pass the sunglasses, please). The contrast seemed a bit out of place on the runway, but the pieces themselves fit with the collection and gives more choices to women who want a little more color to their wardrobe. A “white noise” static print is a nice transition as the palette moves into navy blue on its way back to black.

Costume National is certainly daring at times, especially for women in the Midwest. Some of the cuts Capasa makes are definitely the kind that require a second look and might generate a snide comment or two from those whose tastes are less informed. Yet, the designs may be exactly what one needs to give their spring wardrobe a good kick. Go ahead, take the dare.

More from charles i. letbetter

NYFW: ALTUZARRA S/S 2017

We’re half-way through New York Fashion Week and if there’s one trend...
Read More