New York fashion is in a decorous frame of mind. Dresses outnumbered pants on the runways this week, and skirts have descended to mid-calf. Who knows from whence this new propriety came, but you certainly wouldn't have guessed the house of Calvin Klein would be leading the way, not with the founder's legacy of provocation. But Francisco Costa is a different designer. He started feeling for longer lengths a while ago, and he brought them back today in a strong collection that also keyed into the season's new, bigger volumes.
Picking up where his pre-fall lineup left off, Costa put the focus on the waist, cinching coats and dresses made from dense wools or bonded polished leather with metal-banded belts. On other pieces, inverted darts above the midriff and pleats below it created the nipped silhouette. Peplum jackets followed the same curved lines, blossoming out over full pants cropped a couple of inches above the ankles. The fabrics had real heft but didn't feel weighed down, thanks to the clothes' built-in volumes. A few of the dresses had sheer panels on the torso (which should make them appealing to front-row guest Rooney Mara, who's made a red-carpet style statement with cutout frocks). But even without the game of peekaboo, these otherwise modest silhouettes looked sexy. That was Costa's real accomplishment today.