Smack-dab in the middle of a rack of pre-fall clothes at the Calvin Klein Collection showroom was a short sleeveless shift dress in black wool. "That," Francisco Costa explained, "is a new take on our best-selling dress from Spring. The stores were asking for a more wintery version." Costa followers will remember the dress in question; it had an easy, almost sacklike shape, but what was really noteworthy was its hue, a deep sea blue. Still, it works in a darker key, too.

The showroom today was mostly shades of black, white, gray, and foundation colors, but it was very much a continuation of his most recent runway show. Costa called it "minimal, almost monastic." That came across most strongly in the versatile tunics, shown both as dresses and as tops over his narrow, cropped Southport pant, and via his long, ankle-skimming, loose-fitting dresses and collarless coats. But this assured collection wasn't entirely devoid of sex, either. He dubbed a short, fitted black number with a doubled leather belt his "power dress" for its results-oriented silhouette. He also argued that bonded, double-face black leather has become a signature for the house. The more you wear the coat he cut from the stuff, the better it will fit—just like a glove, in fact.