The Calvin Klein brand has always been synonymous with the original designer's sleek, minimalist '90s style, even though womenswear designer Francisco Costa has evolved house codes using varied patterns and textures. But the classic American brand's fall 2016 collection broke new ground with unexpected details: In addition to black masculine silk wool suits and viscose deep V-neck slip dresses (sometimes jazzed up with faux fur accents and black dangling straps), the brand presented a handful of pieces featuring circular cutouts inset by by polished stones.
What a delightfully impractical thing to wear. The look above could be rendered appropriate IRL with an undershirt, but other dresses featured larger stones in the stomach and hip regions. I imagine sitting down would be difficult without poking yourself in the belly or accidentally providing a glimpse of underwear. And yet, the effect is elegant, daring and distinctive. I appreciate something riskier from a brand that usually approaches risk through exposed flesh — technically this is in the same vein, but it didn't feel sultry or sexual. It felt natural and subtle, despite really being neither of those things.
The funky stone situation was a small part of the collection, however. In addition to the aforementioned suits and structured black leather coats, Costa played around with prints — specifically plaids, checks and pinstripes, as well as digitized coyote, lynx and skunk skins. The animal prints were an expansion of similar ones introduced for pre-fall and are used on silk and leather dresses, coats and bags. The digitized effect looked more abstract from a distance than it does in pictures, creating the optical illusion of depth.
While the many plaid-on-plaid dresses and coats were very wearable and appealing, my favorite looks were a pair of vertical pinstripe dresses in the middle of the show. The stripe threads run off all of the hems and dangle wildly around the neckline, reminding me of electrical shocks. Combined with stone amulet chokers, it gave the boxy work dresses a jolt of energy that still felt consistent with the brand's minimalist ethos: coloring outside the lines and yet conscious of the boundaries.
See the fall 2016 Calvin Klein Collection below.