Francisco Costa closed New York fashion week with a collection that delivered a strong sexual charge. Backstage he said, "It's erotic again, a continuation of last Fall and Spring," and cited as references the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, the artist Carsten Nicolai, and the power and precision of cars. The Calvin Klein girl may be a pinup next season, but she's an intellectual too.

Costa opened with a black satin conical bustier dress, the model's belle poitrine outlined in silver. All signs pointed to the bust as this collection's erogenous zone. But Costa didn't ignore the waist or the legs, either. Peplums played a starring role, and narrow belts accented most of the looks. A pair of putty-colored silk gazar numbers might go down as the shortest dresses this designer has ever put on a runway.

As we said, though, this show had brains as well as beauty. What made it trademark Costa was the interesting fabric play. Adding a white lining to the black mesh he used for a skirtsuit produced a vibrating moiré effect, as did the parabolas of what looked like leather embroidery on a pair of dresses. These weren't just experiments for experimentation's sake. They were great looking. Another provocative idea, this one inspired by cars: draping a strapless cocktail dress from a gold metal frame. Ladies, rev your engines.