Costa is the second youngest of five children. He grew up in Guarani, Brazil, where his mother, Maria-Francisca, owned a children's wear factory. She began her business producing dresses commissioned by a traveling salesman. Costa's father, Jacy Neves da Costa, ran a small ranch. In his hometown of 8,000 people, Costa put on fashion shows for charities. His size is compact and he has brown eyes. Being civic minded by nature, his mother was like the mayor of the town. She presided over her family. Costa remembers there being fifteen people at his family's lunch table.
Following his mother's death in 1981, he left with a friend for New York City in 1985. He was twenty-one and spoke no English at the time. He enrolled in a language class at Hunter College and took courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology at night. He obtained employment with Herbert Rounick, whose Seventh Avenue (Manhattan) company made dresses for Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. Costa went to work for de la Renta after Rounick's death, designing for the firm's Japanese licenses. Costa credits de la Renta with teaching him the most about both designing clothes and life. He remained with the company for five years.
Francisco Costa is the Women's Creative Director of Calvin Klein Collection. Costa won the Council of Fashion Designers America (CFDA) award for Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2006 and 2008. Since 1990 Costa's partner is John DeStefano Jr., a horse trainer and his rock. "He keeps me 100 percent together," says Costa. "He can't take much bullshit." Costa and DeStefano met at George Smith, the furniture store where Costa worked on Saturdays to supplement the salary he earned on Seventh Avenue.
Klein's partner, Barry Schwartz, brought Costa's name to Klein's attention in 2001. Costa became the principal designer for the women's Calvin Klein Collection at the age of 39, in September 2003. Earlier in the year Klein sold his company to Phillips-Van Heusen for approximately $730 million. Costa joined the Klein design group in 2001 after working for Gucci, where he was an assistant to Tom Ford. Their first collaboration is known as the Cher Collection. Costa was mentioned as a possible replacement when Ford retired from designing for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, in late 2003.
The Pursuit of Style: Advice and Musings from America's Top Fashion Designers
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (April 15, 2014)
Amazon: The Pursuit of Style: Advice and Musings from America's Top Fashion Designers
Amazon Kindle: The Pursuit of Style: Advice and Musings from America's Top Fashion Designers
Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Style is an all-new, original collection of clever, charming, and often hilarious musings from American fashion’s biggest designers. The book culls the best pieces of advice and insight from a survey conducted by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) of its 400-plus members, including Diane von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Betsey Johnson, Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren, among many others. From tips and tricks for breaking into a fashion career, to essential wardrobe items, to favorite words of wisdom, this book provides a glimpse inside the fashion world’s most creative minds and offers readers an endless amount of inspiration. Illustrated by Bil Donovan, this stylish package is the must-have fashion gift book of the season.
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