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CINTRA WILSON GOES SHOPPING:

Minimal Disappointment Edition

25critic-span-articleLargeIn her roundabout journey through every major designer boutique in Manhattan, The Times' Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson gives an American Icon a fair shot at the Calvin Klein Collection boutique on Madison Avenue after having been lured by decades of the designer's sleek, sexy imagery.
When it comes to the Calvin Klein Collection of today, however, things are not exactly as one would have remembered them. In the Francisco Costa era, the brand's new parent company, PVH, has focused their considerable attentions and resources on launching the label's moderate department store line. While creative director Costa's runway collections have racked up the awards, they have languished at retail as Calvin's hard-core customers have turned away over the past few years. Our intrepid shopper finds that what was once an American Designer Sportswear mainstay is now styled more to appeal to Asian and European tastes and, unfortunately, bodies. Here's the verdict after trying a shimmery satin tank dress:
It didn’t give me the chrome hood-ornament effect I had hoped for. There was an asymmetrical bunching at one side that made me resemble a sock scrunched the wrong way down a combat boot.
A pewter cocktail dress:
It was a roiling mass of gray pin-tucks, swooping in conflicting directions for a crosscurrent-undertow effect. I was willing to be won over, but the dress was not kind. I staggered out to show [my friend].
“I am your lung after five years of chain-smoking,” I said in the affectless voice of a disembodied organ.
Shopping pal Johanna tries on a teal silk-jersey dress:
It was clingy in all the wrong places — too tight over the curves; loose and baggy in the middle — basically the problem I had with the things I tried on: knit numbers that had a kicky Zelda Fitzgerald look on the hanger, but on the body evoked the wrong years of Brigitte Nielson.
Word has it that the folks at PVH are now trying to bolster the flailing commercial fortunes of the flagship Collection label, but it looks like it may be a much bigger task than they thought it would be.
Critical Shopper | Calvin Klein: New Bow on a Minimal Box by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Calvin Klein Collection 654 Madison Avenue at 60th Street, Upper East Side

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