A chat with Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa

A chat with Calvin Klein's Francisco Costa
Calvin Klein host a fashion art party together with International stars such as Zhang Ziyi, Louis Khoo and Singapore's fitness personality Wong Lilin.

SINGAPORE - It was 4:30pm last Friday when I was waiting my turn to meet Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection's creative director, at the Four Seasons Hotel.

My interview finally began ‒ three ice peach teas later (and over an hour past the scheduled timing). But it was no wonder ‒ before getting to my interview session, the hard working designer had chalked up over 20 press interviews in a span of two days.

The reason for all this buzz: Calvin Klein's "biggest event ever" was held in Asia last Friday evening. The brand celebrated the opening of four new Calvin Klein Collection stores in Southeast Asia this year ‒ including its new boutique at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands that opened in early April, 2014.

To add even more fanfare, the iconic American brand enlisted famed American architect Joshua Prince-Ramus to build an installation space at the former Kallang Airport. On display were Fall Winter 2014 pieces from all five of Calvin Klein's lines ‒ Collection, Platinum Label, Underwear, Jeans and Home.

And on hand to join in the festivities: the entire Calvin Klein clan, including Platinum Label creative director Kevin Carrigan and the brand's menswear head Italo Zucchelli and Francisco Costa, of course, as well as Calvin Klein ambassador Hanneli Mustaparta and stars like Ziyi Zhang, Louis Koo, Ryeo Won Jung, Dakota Johnson and Jordan Masterson plus top bloggers Tina Leung and Irene Kim and music provided by hot DJ duo The Misshapes' Leigh Lezark and Geordon Nicol. How's that for a mega event?

But back to that interview with Francisco Costa…

As crazy as it sounds, your successful career at Calvin Klein was predicted by a psychic. Tell me more.

About 20 years ago when I was working at Oscar de la Renta, a psychic told me that I was going to end up at Calvin Klein. I just thought it would be a fun thing to do ‒ to visit a psychic. After I heard him, I thought to myself: "this guy is crazy". Then about eight years later ‒ after I had gone to work for Tom Ford ‒ I actually ended up at Calvin Klein. I wanted to find this man again, but was never able to.

With the oversize cuts and a heavy focus on knits, the Calvin Klein Fall/Winter 2014 collection appears to be a departure from your brand of sensual minimalism. Why is that?

I really wanted to take the icon of American sportswear ‒ the sweater ‒ and push it to be more relevant. To use colours, textures and patchwork details.

What's the most modern way to wear a sweater then?

It's all about the proportion. When you're wearing big sweaters, a midi-length skirt makes it look more "fashion".

How would you compare the Calvin Klein of then and now?

I don't think they can be compared. Calvin Klein created a lifestyle that is cool and timeless. But I hope I've modernized the brand ‒ made it a little warmer and more sensuous. Now, it's also about the Calvin Klein woman buying a Collection piece and treasuring it.

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