At Calvin Klein, Taking Heritage to the Streets and the Courts-------
The basketball courts at Houston and Sixth Avenue made a big impression on Kevin Carrigan as a young Englishman in New York. He re-created them at the Calvin Klein presentation this morning, from the wire fencing of the set all the way up to his Spring clothes, which embrace and celebrate the all-American athleticism of the company’s heritage. “Last season was about sensual, soft minimalism,” he explained. “This one is more about fast-forward minimalism.” A sheer cobalt-blue tank dress, for starters, was layered over boy briefs and a bandeau bra, and perforated PVC was whipped up into a zip-front sleeveless dress, a sweatshirt, and kicky to-the-knee skirts. Even the suiting took on a sporty edge, with a sleeveless tailored jacket layered over a mesh tee and trousers. You wouldn’t mistake any of it for exercise gear, but the women’s collection had a nice energy, emphasized by the graphic black-and-white color palette and the hits of sky blue.
Those hits kept hitting in the men’s collections. From the underwear, which came in two-tone jewel colors and cut in a new Brazilian square cut, to sky-blue cotton suiting, Carrigan was delivering what he called “high-octane color.” It was balanced by the usual Calvin palette of slate and ice grays. The sport-inspired mesh that suffused the women’s collection was here, too, in micro-mesh textures layered on one another: A cotton mesh dress shirt with a silk mesh tie. “Wearing the mini-mesh textures together is a new direction, I feel,” he said. “I’m taking the sport and introducing the formality—taking the formal out of formal.” It gave even the more traditional silhouettes (a straight pant rather than a tapered one, a slight break rather than the ubiquitous crop) a slight charge. With the menswear more than the womenswear, a resurgent sense of the old mixed with the new. The inspirations were, on one hand, sportswear from the thirties, and on the other, from modern-day basketball. Leather lace-ups with athletic cotton ankle socks underscored the point.