NYFW S/S ‘12 Report: Calvin Klein Collection

16 September 2011

I must confess that there are times when I have found Calvin Klein a challenge. There is something about minimalism in fashion that demands you measure up: perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect poise and so on. And in my daily life I often find that wanting. Result: I feel defeated. And feeling competitive with your clothes is just not a good thing. When a perfect sheath of silk that looked heavenly on a mannequin looks like last week’s rag on me, I have often taken consolation in the words of Oscar De La Renta, ‘sometimes those minimalist designers are just minimally talented’.

I am not suggesting for one second that Francisco Costa, the designer at Calvin Klein is not talented. He has proved himself many times over. But his work can be little austere. And I find I make it look messy. This is also not good for him or me.

But for summer 2011 Francisco eased up and my Calvin conversion happened. If we can be grateful for one thing in these desperate economic doldrums it’s that designers do appear to be taking an approach that is less tough on us: easing up on silhouette, going gentle on colour and soft on texture.  Personally I have always thought that compromise was a good thing and never a cop out. The compromise that Francisco made between his minimalist line and a woman’s curve, made for a gorgeously feminine collection.

Bring on those fondant pink slip dresses trimmed with chiffon. And before you put the idea of a wearable slip dress down to fashion lunacy it should be explained that they had rows of vertical pleats that moved like a dream and created girl friendly volume. Bring on the lean coats, which with their masculine contrast make those dresses look even more feminine. Bring on the soft ¾ length wide trousers worn with layered waistcoat and vest top.

I am loving Francisco Costa’s frivolous side.

- Paula Reed in New York


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