A New Take on Romance
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Designer Francisco Costa looked to the future for his spring collection for Calvin Klein. And what an exciting vision of the future it is. Artful, elegant, and yet a touch space-age, this collection was a study in balance. Sheer fabrics introduced a light, flyaway quality that stood out against the strong, structured jackets and vests with serious shoulder pads.
A series of white looks started things off; slim dresses with circle cutouts at the hips were layered over white tank tops. The looks gained a heaviness with leather and plastic-looking fabrics used for jackets cut wide at the waist and tall at the shoulder.
The mood lightened with a series of two-layer dresses: Fitted, short slips in white were swathed in sheer fabrics — some light green, some white, some with contrasting prints. In the same vein, several dresses in darker colors on the same sheer fabric were cut with long, flowing panels.Though the looks were modern — with square tank necklines and gathers or puckers at random — the panels skimmed the floor so gently that the overall effect was romantic. The show ended with a stark white version that could be worn for a most modern wedding. Mr. Costa created a look that could lure even a woman with the most conservative style into more avant garde territory.
Earlier in the day, there was a more traditional — but no less beautiful — vision for spring at the J. Mendel show. Designer Gilles Mendel draped his tall lovelies in columns of silk chiffon. Several looks for evening were accented with thin belts; a tiny, cropped bolero in white broadtail topped a white strapless gown. Details here were many; thin string ties accented drawstring hems, while pleats and diamond shaped folds gave fabrics extra bounce. The color scheme here suggested deeply luxurious territory: creams, dark chocolate browns, and soft shades of yellow, lavender, and gray. A series of coats with sheer bottoms and circle appliqués were not the thing for inclement weather, but just right to toss over these gorgeous, demure gowns. If more Oscar nominees wore these dresses, more would display perfect taste.