Calvin Klein Designer Francisco Costa Discusses Inspiration

Francisco Costa, the Brazilian-born creative director of Calvin Klein Collection, was all boyish grins—he somehow manages to make dental braces look cool—after his fall 2008 collection debuted yesterday evening. As soon as all the attendees had taken their places in an I.C.U.-clean, boxy space at 205 West 39th St., sounds of approaching footsteps and solitary piano notes entered the room through mounted speakers—a kind of sensual contrast to Mr. Costa’s pragmatic pieces and warm demeanor.

“I found, earlier in the season, this amazing form, a turn-of-the-century form that I became fascinated with,” Mr. Costa, 46, who won the C.F.D.A. award for the best womenswear designer in 2006, told the Daily Transom after the show.

He was expounding on the inspiration driving his collection, which pulls mainly from a color palette of black and “night” (a few touches of gray and “fig” were thrown in for good measure) to emphasize its classic, simple lines. In truth, however, the collection’s uncomplicated aesthetic, a Calvin Klein mainstay, belies comically complex constructions. One piece, called Suvi, for example, is described in the item list as a “night wool felt hand punched matte crystal notch collar sculpted coat.”

Mr. Costa went on to explain the inspirational “form” in greater detail. “It’s an old vintage piece that I found. That so turned me on, so I started playing with that idea like a puzzle: the construction and architecture and moving the darks around, the seams around, and creating some more interesting shapes,” said the designer, who was pristinely clad in a crisp white oxford over white pants.

After telling us that he was “really touched by the fact that the house responded,” Mr. Costa mentioned a few design characteristics that have long been part of the label’s repertoire. “I did feel from the beginning that I wanted the collection to be sharp, precise and orderly,” he said, using his hands to underscore each adjective. “Slightly military…but not the literal military, obviously, just the more regimented aspects of it, in very luxurious fabrics—plain, matte and shine.

“So,” he said with a shrug, “it was fun.”

Calvin Klein Designer Francisco Costa Discusses Inspiration