Friday, September 16, 2011

NYFW: Calvin Klein

Who has time to sit and trawl the images from show after show for the next four weeks? New York is behind us, London is upon us and here come Paris and Milan. I always spend this time of year feeling like an unfit kid huffing and puffing at the tail end of an athletics team, except in this case I huff and puff while inhaling a coffee at a computer, and the cooler kids striding ahead are doing so in neon stilettos and a haze of human hair extensions.

Who has time, I asked? I'll make time, dammit, so when op-shopping I know I want to look out for black mesh t-shirts (Alex Wang, take a bow. Better go to an op-shop in the Cross for that one), I know I want to look out for bright abstract splatter-prints (um, everyone take a collective bow, go on), and I know I want to make a beeline to the lingerie section to source fitted, lace-trimmed silk slips in shades of peach, blush and pale caramel. And we have Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein to thank for that.

Yes, he has moved away from the sculpted, moulded aesthetic which dominated previous collections, and seemed to enclose the wearer's body in a shell, rather than fold over it as this line does. His aesthetic has thus evolved from artifice and strength towards softness, fluidity. And so here we are, awash in a modern interpretation of Forties gowns (note the insert details on the skirts of his slips, and the cut and line of those jacket suits), as if that ladylike era dropped in for an eclair with Nineties minimalism (minus the grunge.)

There's also a whiff of the Jazz Age about the nonchalant display of decolletage and details through the torso of some of the garments, like soft pleats and visible structure that recalls the strong curved lines of Art Deco. And yet, like all skillful reinterpretations, this is thoroughly modern. The details are not strident or obvious, only deft touches that add interest to a deceptively simple range.

For those who care to know, my favourites are the black dress third from bottom and the last dress shown here, tailor-made for the romantic at heart.

All images from

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