"Cool woman," Ennio Capasa's mood board announced. That's a fairly sweeping statement, but the pictures below it provided some further illumination into his thought process for Costume National: the architecture of Frank Gehry, the iron arabesques of an Anish Kapoor sculpture, vintage pics of Patti Smith and Debbie Harry. "They were women who mixed for the first time in a very modern way this men's energy," he explained.
One thing you can say about Capasa, this isn't his first time working the masculine/feminine angle. But you could argue that it was angles that went missing from this collection. Yes, this was a show about tailoring, as Costume National shows have always been and forever more will be, but the designer was making a new point about softness and roundness. To start, he replaced most of his trousers with elastic-ankle "jogging pants," and what a surprise, they looked most convincing paired with double-breasted tuxedo jackets. Beyond those pants, he demonstrated a predilection for fabrics with a lot of body, like bonded leathers and dense felted wools. The latter posed a bit of a challenge on a one-shoulder cocktail dress in navy and black diagonal stripes; wool doesn't exactly slink. He did have a hit on his hands, though, with a sinuous black silk evening dress, the halter neckline of which was a riff on a tux's satin revers. With slits up the sides, you caught glimpses of the cropped pants underneath. Cool woman, in this case, is right.