"Architectural" has always been a word that's thrown around where Francisco Costa is concerned. Maybe it was inevitable that he'd one day come around to architecture as his theme. For Resort, the designer explained after his show, he'd been thinking of California modernism. (LACMA recently mounted a show tracing its development from Bauhaus to the Eameses.) The potential pitfall of such an approach is that home design—particularly of the modernist stripe—doesn't exactly exude sex appeal. But Costa teased the sensuality out of blocky shapes, longer lengths, and cool expanses of color by mixing hard and soft, solid and sheer. "A lot of the textures came from the Eames' house," Costa said. "I found it fascinating, because the exterior is this complete box, but you walk in and it's so personal, it's so lovely. That's what American modernism is about."
What looked forbidding at first softened as it moved. Slit skirts kept legs flashing as models tottered down the runway on thick flatform wedges in lizard, calf, and nubuck. Sleeveless tunic vests worn over matching cropped flares nodded at utilitarianism—especially when finished off with low-slung belts whose giant buckles resembled seatbelts—but there was fluttery softness in silk dresses, especially the caped version in which Marie Piovesan billowed along. (They had a bit of a seventies lightness, echoed too in the collection's prints, based on a Calvin dress from the decade worn by Lisa Taylor in a famous Helmut Newton shot.) The finale looks combined the two poles: long, sheer T-shirt dresses worn over crepe dresses or silk cady bottoms and bandeaux. Lovely, though quite revealing. Call it window dressing.