A bit of new weather rolled into New York City on Tuesday afternoon when two very talented designers shifted the fashion temperature from hot and sticky to calm and cool. Zac Posen ended his beautifully refined show with a quartet of "cloud" dresses from nimbus to cumulus to cyclone all in washed and dyed silk that was literally gathered and draped to look like a cloud bursting off a model's shoulder on top of a long gown or swirling around her torso in the case of a strapless shift. It was a touch of showbiz to top off a collection that was easily the designer's best. Drawing on the simple fabrics, shapes, and nature-inspired color palette of America's early settlers, Posen showed crisp poplin dresses, blouses and vests that would have turned any Shaker into a fashionista. There's always a bit of a celebrity scene at Posen's shows since P. Diddy owns a majority stake in the company, and the audience usually endures the ensuing wait. This time it was worth it.
Like Posen, Francisco Costa, the Brazilian designer who several years ago took over for Calvin Klein when he retired, has mastered a sleek and chic kind of casual style. As far as continuing the sensibility of Klein, it works. To the simple sportswear shapes, Costa brings a refined sense of color and an appreciation for innovative fabrics. He opened the show with a passage of skinny, high-waisted pants in shades of chalk, pale pink and putty and then punctuated a crisp, natural palette with two drop-dead simple organza T-shirt dresses in grass green and what else? sky blue.