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Runway Report
Haute Couture - Spring '06
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London - Spring '06
SF Fashion Week



Almost nobody translated the yin and yang of fashion (the juxtaposition of hard and soft, masculine and feminine, the ornamental with the simplistic) that defines fashion, as beautifully and as excruciatingly well thought out as Francisco Costa, now in his 7 th season designing for Calvin Klein. Working in a very pared down color palette of black, putty, parchment, with a welcome shot of red at the end (in the form of two beautiful lingerie inspired ankle length slip dresses), the Brazilian born designer who was once an assistant to Tom Ford at Gucci, claims to have been inspired by the herringbone floors in his apartment. To that end, he not only used the classic menswear pattern in traditional ways (as in his putty wool herringbone wide legged trouser paired with a narrow and unlined palomino lizard jacket, whose chevron pattern mimicked the herringbone), but he further deconstructed the herringbone, taking the zig zag, chevron pattern, cutting it into strips of wool, and decorating the hemline and bodices of his long, lean, lingerie inspired and very sheer black chiffon and tulle dresses. Sometimes, the sheer black pieces turned up as tops worn underneath black narrow wool jackets or lean ¾ coats paired with skinny pants, to form the basis of his ‘new suits’, and sometimes they appeared under his outstanding long lean coats. By the way, black boots on a sturdy high heel were used with many of these pieces to offset the fragility of the chiffon and make it look more ‘street’ friendly.

It seems obvious that Francisco was obsessed with making fall 2006 as lightweight and delicate as possible, (something he did for his highly acclaimed, almost all white, spring 2006 line), but because the sheer chiffon pieces seemed to outweigh the more structured, tailored ones, as beautiful as it was and as stunning a statement it made, it was hard to imagine how too many women, other than the ‘20 something’, 6 foot tall, 100 pound models that were strutting down the runway, would be able to pull this off. As Cathy Horyn so brilliantly put it in her post show review, “W hat about a woman whose breasts don't fit neatly into a patch of chiffon?” Clearly there are many of us mere mortals out there. But one must praise the designer for his consistence and laborious thought and conception (elements that were unfortunately, missing from most other runways here in New York). And of course, his ideas can be watered down somewhat in order to make it more wearable and practical for a larger audience (it’s already been noted that the sheer pieces will be lined when they hit the stores).





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