Bryan, what are you wearing? A suit! Says who? Calvin Klein! Cher Horowitz called, she wants her dress back!
Every once in a while, I get this nagging voice at the back of my head to dress appropriately for my age. Sometimes, when I look at my photos, I find it hard to believe the person I’m staring at owns his
busyness multi-media company. When that happens, the first thing I do is wear a suit. I guess its the executive realness in me talking. I feel like a grown up whenever I’m all suited up! I don’t know why. Anyway, Calvin Klein Collection sent me this suit a few months back and I resurrected it during Fashion Week in Milan. Am I a navy suit or a gray suit kind of guy? I can’t really tell because I love both colours though I must say I’m obsessed with gray lately.
Gray jacket, trousers from Calvin Klein Collection, shoes by Cividini
I popped over to the Calvin Klein Collection showroom earlier this afternoon to see the Resort 2014 collection by Francisco Costa. I couldn’t stop myself from touching the oh-so-chic ultrasuede pieces; love the green coat on the rack, the short, boxy white jacket and the long-sleeved blue top with the zip on the back. It was refreshing to see Francisco use denim. I also love the colourful collaboration with the artist Ellsworth Kelly. Not shown on the runway was this amazing, graphic, black and white printed jacket and trousers; had my name all over it. Want. Love. Need.
Click click click for more photos of the collection, including accessories!
Oh Francisco! I had a lovely time catching up with Calvin Klein Collection’s Womenswear Creative Director Francisco Costa in Savannah. Francisco is this year’s recipient of the Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award by the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Bryanboy: A lot of young people go into fashion design with the dream of one day pursuing their own label. Considering your path, would it be ideal to contribute to the work of existing designers or focus on developing themselves as a brand?
Francisco Costa: They have to focus on developing their own personality and then everything will fall into place. When I ended up at Calvin Klein, I felt like this is an ideal situation because it is a brand with so much strength and I really try to bring what I like in combination with what Calvin did. I feel very blessed to have such a structure under me, but I’m also very nurturing to young students.
For instance, I had somebody that I hired temporarily who was an architecture major and had no idea what fashion was. So I said, “come work for us and see how you like it.” He showed interest. After awhile, I hooked him up with this one organization which held an international contest. Next thing you know, he was one of the participants and he ended up becoming very successful with it. Then he came to me after winning the contest and asked me what he should do next. I said, I don’t know, go open your own business because I felt like it’s the right time. This is a guy who has a lot of talent. But then again, maybe he is young enough and he could explore. Every experience is individual, right?
I’ve been working for a long time. Andre Leon-Talley came to me a long time ago, when I used to work for Gucci. I was in London and he asked me, “why don’t you open your own business?” I said, “Andre, I am truly happy.” I made a conscious decision not to. I could have done something, I could have played, I could have. But in retrospect, I am extremely happy.
Bryan: Speaking of Gucci… Tom Ford is known for his va-va-voom, high-octane, glamazon aesthetic whereas Calvin Klein Collection is the polar opposite — pure, luxurious, modern American sportswear. How did you refine your aesthetic considering the differences between the two brands?
Francisco: Interestingly enough, what Tom Ford did was really based on Calvin’s aesthetic. All the advertisements, the imagery, the sexiness — they were all very, very strong and very Calvin in many ways. So I don’t think that was a challenge so much because, you know, we are talking about the same thing.
The primary challenge for me was, as the business grew bigger and bigger, after it was sold it went from $700 million to $8 billion, the company exploded into so many different areas. The challenge for me is to keep that flame of the collection genuine and really protect it. So whatever it is that we are doing has to have a true essence and not just an essence, but a personality that wouldn’t be mixed up with all the other products in other categories.
Bryan: That’s another question for me — how do you bridge Calvin Klein Collection, your collection, which is very architectural, pure, modern and very technical whereas whereas the general public’s perception of Calvin Klein the brand? You have sexy, you have provocative, you have underwear, you have fragrance… how do you bridge the two?
Francisco: It’s all about securing that high-level position. A brand can actually exist both in high-end and low-end categories. It’s seamless. It’s totally seamless. If you think of the Calvin Klein lifestyle, you get it. A woman is able to explore both ends of the spectrum. One can have extraordinary clothes, very fine clothes while at the same time, have a lifestyle that’s cool. The juxtaposition is very modern. A cool woman goes shopping and mixes it all up today. I think that’s the most exciting part because it reflects independence.
Bryan: You’re one of the very few designers who actually push new fabrics, new, modern techniques in fabrics. What’s your relationship with fabric?
Francisco: I love fabrics! That’s the most organic part of designing because its tactile and you have to be part of the development. For example, for Fall/Winter 2013, it took me three years to get certain mills to agree to develop the same kind of fabric. Because you buy cashmere from one mill, you buy suiting fabric from another, you buy this from another, so you have to make them agree to make the same thing at the same time. It’s very costly for these people to change their techniques and what have you. A lot of fabrics for fall, for instance, those are actually woven and not cut-out.
I could have achieved that by cutting and boiling but I didn’t. It thrills me to be experimental — this is how you learn about the essence of fabric. Experimentation triggers fabric mills to create other things and further their development. It’s the same experimentation that would be seen two, even three seasons later. It’s all a great exercise.
Bryan: Do you start your design process with fabric itself or do you conceptualize shapes and silhouettes before deciding which fabric to choose?
Francisco: It goes both ways. A collection starts with an idea and could take up to years to materialize. And then all of sudden, you saw something on the street that inspires you and feels really relevant and it’s just this is the way to go. The design process comes in very different forms but ultimately, fabric is really the catalyst for a collection to work or not.
Bryan: If your next ten years of work could be described into one word, what would it be?
Francisco: In one word?
Bryan: Go on…
Francisco: I think it’s… I could give you three words (both laugh)
Bryan: Three is good!
Francisco: I think what I do is, you know, essentially provocative, strong and current and strong in many ways. If it had to be described in one word, I would have to say having a pulse. Pulse, pulse.
Greetings from Basel! Calvin Klein flew me to Switzerland as one of their guests for this year’s BaselWorld exhibition. To those of you who are not familiar of BaselWorld, it’s the biggest watch and jewelry fair in the world. It’s my first time to attend the fair. Don’t be misled by the word ‘fair’ though. BaselWorld 2013 was set up to resemble a giant shopping mall with some of the biggest watch and jewelry brands setting up conceptualized “booths” that looked like their actual retail stores. It was a no-expense-barred event and it was fascinating to see what everyone came up with.
It was lovely reuniting with familiar and friendly faces in addition to the Calvin Klein team and Executives: my ultra chic friend Lily Kwong flew in from Gabon, Laura Burdese, Calvin Klein tumblr contributor Hanneli Mustaparta and Ulrich Grimm who is the Creative Director of both Men’s & Women’s Shoes and Accessories. Rita Ora performed at the celebratory party in the evening and my beloved DJ Mike Nouveau spinned at the festivities.
The new Calvin Klein watches and jewelry collection features clean lines and characteristic curved metal surfaces. Some of the highlights from the 2013 line include the ck dress watch, the unisex ck eager timepiece, the ck classic watch that has been newly redesigned for 2013 and ck undulate, a key jewelry offering for the season including two pendant necklaces, rings and delicate earrings that showcase sleek and rounded shapes. Overall, the new collection can be described as sleek, elegant and ultra functional. Totally in synch with the brand’s modern and minimalist DNA. Very Calvin Klein.
On me: Jacket, top, shorts all by Calvin Klein spring/summer 2013 menswear
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Oh hi guys!
Lace blazer and bag from Dolce & Gabbana, shoes by Prada
I ended New York Fashion Week on a high note. At the Calvin Klein Collection dinner held at the new Beatrice Inn, I had the pleasure of meeting three wonderful sportsmen of the moment: the very handsome Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Conor Dwyer, superstar New York Knicks basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire and the Swedish professional ice hockey goaltender for the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist.
Watch the spring/summer 2013 Calvin Klein menswear fashion show, live, from Milan!