It can’t be easy to take the wheel from a designer whose global name recognition is somewhere up there with Coca-Cola. So, it was understandable that Francisco Costa’s first collection as head of Klein’s women’s line, last spring, was somewhat tentative. Now it’s time for Costa to show that he’s fully in command, and his fall show came up disappointingly short.
Costa mixed supple, thin fabrics like washed silk, charmeuse, chiffon, gauzy mohair, and cashmere against bulkier wool felt, shearling, and ponyskin, in a typically limited color palette of black, ivory, cream, pinky-brown, steel blue, and peach. He showed flowing silk dresses and mid-calf skirts, slit up the thigh or sliced into awkward flaps along the hem, and loose, hip-length self-belted jackets. There were dramatic black motorcycle-type jackets, cut oversize from ponyskin or felt and worn over fragile underpinnings. Mixed into the outfits were some promising pieces: a short black wool jacket, a black angora and chiffon tank top, a sheer white shirt, some lovely pintucked dresses. But overall, the collection lacked exactly the kind of clean, effortless, coolly pretty clothes that Klein taught the world to want.