During his 13 year tenure as creative director of Calvin Klein Collection’s womenswear line, Francisco Costa’s minimal aesthetic and idiosyncratic colour palette won the designer widespread critical acclaim. However, in April 2016, Calvin Klein announced that Costa was to exit the brand, as part of a new global creative strategy, unifying all Calvin Klein brands under one creative vision.
“This creative strategy marks the beginning of another significant chapter in Calvin Klein’s brand legacy since Mr. Klein’s retirement,” chief executive Steve Shiffman said in a statement. “I would like to thank Francisco and Italo for their unwavering commitment to the Calvin Klein brand and their accomplishments over the past decade. They have both contributed immensely to making Calvin Klein a global leader in the fashion industry, and they have done so with dedication, focus and creativity.”
Costa first entered fashion having moved to New York from his native Brazil following his mother’s untimely death. Despite not knowing any English; the designer studied English during the day at Hunter College and took night classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology.
Following a stint working for Herbert Rounik, Costa was taken on by dressmaker Oscar De La Renta. "He taught me the most," Costa once said. "And not just the craft, but life. Oscar is so full of life and has a genuine interest in what's good."
The Brazilian stayed at Oscar De La Renta until he was appointed chief womenswear designer at Gucci by Tom Ford , along with Christopher Bailey and Clare Waight Keller . Costa’s name was originally brought to the attention of Calvin Klein by Barry Schwartz, Klein’s partner in 2001. He joined Calvin Klein in 2003 and was promoted to creative director a year after he joined.
In 2006 and 2008, Francisco won the CDFA's prestigious Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.