I’m beginning to think Francisco Costa is a minimalist at heart. Granted, he never has been one to go in for a lot of frills and ruffles and such, but looking back over what is now ten years he’s been directing women’s wear for Calvin Klein we’ve seen the collections increasingly grow more austere until we get to the point with this season where if he gets any leaner the clothes just might have to be invisible.

In some ways, there are some strong similarities between this season’s silhouettes and last. While Costa has obviously dropped the to-the-neck collars that donned several of the woolly sweaters, the lean long-under-longer look is practically identical. Even the over sized sleeves make a return appearance, something I don’t see being terribly comfortable on days where the temperature is higher than 55 degrees or so. Color blocking, scooped necks, and some high belting are back as well.

What’s different are the materials: lacquered leather, frequently perforated to the point of behaving like mesh, and viscose knits for contrast. The result is that a number of looks have a shiny versus matte look that is visually appealing. Skirts and dresses tend to be sheer from about mid-thigh down, and even where the majority is opaque there are touches of sheer around the hem.

Much of the collection utilizes a red, white, and blue palette.  Whether that was intentional, given the date of today’s show, I can’t possibly imagine. Still, it did not go unnoticed by several.Those weren’t the only colors, though, as both silver and gold metallics took over for the last several looks. Silver embroidery on sleeveless blouses added some extra sparkle to a collection that may be one of the least flashy we’ve seen all season.

Drawing equal attention was the severe tone of the model’s look. Hair was pulled back so tightly into nicely arranged buns that I suspect every last one of them was in need of some form of pain relief by the time the show was finished. Only when a model turned around could one tell that their entire head hadn’t been shaved. Makeup was not overdone, but definitely darker on the cheeks and eyes so as to maintain a thinner look. The biggest challenge seemed to come with the platform shoes, something that we’ve seen often this season, but for some reason seemed to cause models some difficulty as more than a few stumbled on the turn.

I sit here wondering if the Midwest is ready for this Calvin Klein collection. While Francisco has done a beautiful job tailoring these pieces, the final look may just be a bit too aggressive for many. Granted, wearing one’s hair down and softening the makeup would make a lot of difference. Still, this is very much a big city look and anyone wearing it needs to bring a big city attitude.

Photo credit: Valerio Messanatti

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