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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



.

Calvin Klein’s Modernist Mods

Godfrey Deeny
February 18th, 2011 @ 00:19 AM - New York

Modernism, of the most exacting and telling sort, and the Mods' dandified take on style and dressing were what the latest Calvin Klein show by the house's women's ready-to-wear designer Francisco Costa was all about.

The Mods, surely the best-dressed of all the many British youth cults, were the wellspring of this intriguing fall 2011 collection, presented in the house's own show space in New York on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Mods were a reaction to what they saw as scruffy, provincial rockers and their style mixed French Nouvelle Vague cinema chic with natty Italian suiting. But the inventive Costa - never a literal designer - wove a whole new magic, by injecting the spruce cool of the Mods into hyper modernist dressing.

"I began by thinking of the Mods and their sense of style, but then added volume and took it somewhere different with the fabrics," said Francisco Costa backstage after the show.

The hedonism of the British youth cult was apparent in the curvy silhouette, almost chess piece, which Costa used in slate metallic sheath dresses or Alpaca sweatshirts. Though his most striking looks were a series of mono-color short dresses enlivened with just a few contrasting panels.

Costa also broke new ground with his fabrics, in particular a ribbon jacquard that was futurist and dramatic when used in several great cocktail dresses. Most looks were anchored by brushed calf pumps in colors like wheat, zinc and truffle. Call it urban cool at its most austere.

Yet, though striking and highly inventive, the collection somehow was a tad too severe and relentless. The clothes had almost too much gravitas. Costa certainly delivered in terms of new ideas, but ultimately this collection was an artistic, rather than an aesthetic, success. Which is not quite the right idea in fashion.

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