Costume National Fall/Winter 2011-2012

I love the second combination...
Looking ahead to fall/winter 2011-2012, Costume National masters the beauty of simplicity. Honing in on suiting, outerwear and fine knits, the label turns out a dark wardrobe with autumn hued accents for an accessible yet chic approach to the new season. Altogether, while dynamic tailoring made for a striking uniform of suits, knits of mohair added the special final touch, highlighting stripes and irregular shapes for a distinctive collection trademark come next fall.

My favorite looks:

 Tim Blanks review

On the mood board for Ennio Capasa's new collection was a photo of James Chance, the New York no-waver who combined the style of Frank Sinatra with the attitude of Johnny Rotten. In other words, the perfect poster boy for Capasa's theme: rebel tailoring. The designer took a scalpel—or rather, a laser—to menswear classics like the black trench composed of three layers of fabric that, when laser-cut, left a striking rim of red thread as a graphic outline against the black. Other hems were left raw and singed by the laser's kiss.

Capasa is mesmerized by experimental techniques. He dispensed with stitched seams in favor of heat-sealed bonding, and sliced and diced clothes together. That meant the wool sleeves of a loden coat were replaced by khaki leather, while quilted motocross detailing was hybridized into a cardigan. And the designer did away with shirts and ties altogether in favor of punky striped mohair sweaters.

The rawness and urgency worked wonders for the collection, which has lately felt like it was drifting a little too far from Costume National's original appeal. Take the tuxedo jacket on today's runway: A staple of the house, it was reconfigured here in knit with a black leather lapel and modeled by Capasa's son. In March, the designer launches his new venture EEQUAL—120 stores in collaboration with Italy's Gruppo Coin. Selling eight collections a year, it will be, he says, "democratic," i.e., something along the Uniqlo model. So maybe this Costume collection could be seen as a forerunner for the cross-generational action to come.


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