The trend toward long and lean this season is one that we knew would fit Francisco Costa’s Calvin Klein collection even before we saw the first piece hit the runway. Costa has embraced a tightly tailored, long-hemmed, polished and somewhat minimalist look the past couple of seasons that made this particular trend somewhat hand made for his styling. What we didn’t quite expect, though, was the somewhat gritty, cropped, and unfinished way in which he would apply it.
First, horizontal stripes and patches are a dominant look throughout the collection, regardless of the fabric or design. In fact, when it comes to outwear, of which there was a plethora, Costa uses the horizontal striping to marry fur and leather. The effect is unique and does a lot visually that sets this collection out from the crowd even if at times it is a subtle approach that one may not notice at first.
Second, this is a highly textured collection, which has also been a trend this season. In fact, at this point I’m not sure there is an inch of unused shearling left in the city. Costa mixes the shearling with leather, vinyl, suede, crushed velvet, and a few knits, and uses the horizontal strapping to tie them all together.
Big buttons were another feature that was difficult to miss if for no other reason that a surprising number of the coats in this collection were fastened for the entire walk. Sure, we could see hints of dresses and ensembles beneath them, but we’ve no idea if they were new designs or repeats of looks we saw separately. Granted, the outerwear is very nicely done and quite covetable against the deeply sub-freezing temperatures we’re experiencing at the moment, but rarely have we seen coats dominate so strongly over the daywear.
If there was a surprise in this collection it was the turn toward a bit of a rocker, early 70s vibe with several of the silhouettes. Flared pants legs, cropped to about mid-calf, were a frequent look and on most of those came hems so strongly deconstructed that at first I thought they might have tassels. The raw hem worked on some of the longer dress designs as well as a few coats, and with two-inch block heels on the shoes there was just the tiniest tinge of a pulled-from-grandma’s-closet feel.
Where we could actually see the clothes, they were very sleek, very long, and had a thing for shiny surfaces. Vinyl leggings looked especially warm and helped create a head-to-toe aesthetic that worked well. The appliqued mirrors were perhaps pushing it a bit unless one considers them an inside-the-coat extension of the big buttons on the coats. The few lighter colored looks might be most attractive considering how many collections have been deeply dark this season, but there weren’t enough of those and their impact on the collection is minimal.
Still, this was a different turn for Costa, which was refreshing if not stunning. Should he continue in this direction, perhaps perception of the Calvin Klein brand might actually extend beyond men’s briefs for a change.