In the course of American fashion, the house of Calvin Klein has been the launching and landing pad for some of our most prized masterminds, from the OG himself Mr. Calvin Klein to the most recent departure of Raf Simons. However, few visions are perhaps more ubiquitous than that of Francisco Costa, head of the house in the mid aughts and thus the purveyor of clean, crisp, classic tailoring and sexy simplicity in the midst of overemebellished and borderline criminal fashion atrocities of the 00’s.
Two years after his decade-long leadership over CK, to the surprise of some but to the dismay of none, Costa has embedded himself in the new wave of beauty, having launched this winter his sustainable, rainforest-sourced line, Costa Brazil.
But let’s make one thing clear: this is not Francisco Costa’s attempt at reinvention. As a Brazil native with a deep sense of identity in his home country (which alone houses 60% of the Amazon rainforest), sustainability has long been on Costa’s mind. And where fashion continues to tow the line between all-in conservation commitment and an embarrassing addiction to fast fashion, beauty leads the forefront of sustainable and eco-minded concepts, received by consumers in a way that ready to wear and accessories often aren’t.
Costa Brazil is sustainable down to even its packaging. They use recycled, biodegradable materials wherever possible, and have partnered with the Forest Stewardship Council (promoters of eco-friendly paper products) on their packaging, and a portion of sales proceeds goes to Conservation International, who works with local cooperatives to use non-invasive harvesting methods rather than traditional deforestation.
The line has launched with four products. The Kaya Anti-Aging Face Oil, the Kaya Jungle Firming Oil for the body, Resina De Breu, and the Vela Candle. All products are vegan and cruelty-free, and of course Costa maintains his minimalist aesthetic in packaging and presentation. The ingredients are mineral-rich Kaya, antioxidant-packed Cacay, and Breu. Kaya is a name coined by Costa for the essence extracted from the pink blossoms of the Sapucaia tree, which is found all over Brazil, and claims it is even more potent than argan oil.
On a six month journey into the Amazon, Costa spent weeks with the Yaminawá tribe, who introduced him to the core ingredient Breu. Breu is derived from the resin of the Almacega tree, considered sacred by the tribe and used in rituals and ceremonies. As a bonus, the resin naturally repels mosquitoes and heals cuts.
“Costa Brazil to me is a way to express and share the powerful reconnection to the earth that I experienced. Our products have this raw magic that talks to you, and invites to look within, to nurture your body with nature’s most healing elements. Beauty is inseparable from the health of earth,” journals Costa after his experience in the Amazon.
From a culture where beauty is ingrained in the language and the mind, it is only logical that Costa would venture into this world. The popular greeting in Rio de Janiero is “E ai, Beleza?” literally meaning “Is everything beautiful?” More simply put, “is everything all good?” And seemingly, the answer from Costa Brazil is yes.