January 16, 2007
Ask just about anyone anywhere in the world what "Calvin Klein" means and they'll likely answer "gray underwear." Italo Zucchelli has anticipated and subverted that response with his new collection. It wasn't just that nearly everything he showed was gray, or that he attached the iconic waistband to slim-line cotton jersey trousers. There was much more going on. "Chic and innovative" was Zucchelli's stated aim, and the tone set by his sleek techno-tailoring was reminiscent of the not-so-distant-future elegance of Gattaca (not the first time Andrew Niccol's unjustly neglected work of vision has reared its head this season). There were also echoes of archfashion futurist Thierry Mugler's golden years, in jackets that dispensed with lapel notches or in colors that were unabashedly synthetic in their intensity. Zucchelli's fascination with the tension between the organic and the artificial blossomed with this collection as well: Fuzzy knits and glove-soft leather faced off against hard techno-fabrics. He also seemed to be offering an ironic comment on the current dialogue between fashion and furniture design when he showed jackets in shearling or felted wool that were encased in clear plastic, like a couch cover. But aside from such eccentric subtexts, Zucchelli continues to offer sharply tailored coats and suits (a gold gabardine looked right for the season) that redefine Klein for a new age.