After last season's air conditioner breakdown and the swelter that ensued, the Calvin Klein team was in the market for a new show venue. The minimal white West 39th Street space they opted for today may not have been the very last word in comfort, but it was a huge improvement over Milk Studios. Kudos then to whoever oversaw the switch in locationand to Francisco Costa, whose fall collection, if not as strong as his spring breakthrough, was a competitive runner-up. The Brazilian designer is in his seventh season with the house, and perhaps it's time to stop counting. He's charting his own course now.
Costa can work a theme like nobody's business. His last go-around, it was circles; for fall, he zeroed in on herringbone. At its most basic, that meant cutting full trousers in the traditional menswear fabric, but this was not a collection about basics. Dress after airy dress was embroidered with V-shape patterns of varying sizes, picked out in wool or bugle beads, and several were real stunners. Take, for instance, the pair of fire-engine-red chiffon gowns that closed the show, or another number in black and brown that cascaded below the knee in wool box pleats, then hobbled above the ankle. It had substance, unlike some of the lighter-weight gowns, which wandered a little too close to lingerie territory. At retail, linings will be in order; apart from anything else, these are fall clothes. More traditionally seasonal in vein were a series of black wool-crepe coats with wide cuffs, inverted pleats on the sleeves, and trapeze hems. They showcased Costa's skills as a tailor and left the audience hankering for a few more suits with that same attention to luxe detail.