"Nature shows us that there's always beauty in upheaval," Christian Cota wrote in his program notes. The Mexican-born designer, who won the Fashion Group International's Rising Star Award a few weeks ago, kept things down-to-earth for Fall quite literally, incorporating pebblelike embroidery and a mineral print into his collection. Cota, who trained with Angel Sanchez and debuted with eveningwear four seasons ago, showed that he was able to shake things up with this collection. "Instead of uptown chic he went a bit more crazy and youthful," said model and fellow countrywoman Liliana Dominguez, who was in the audience. She wasn't the only one who noticed Cota's evolution. The shift in his work is deliberate. Sure, there were some overwrought looks, but overall the collection was cleaner, hemlines were shorter, and there were even a few sporty elements, like a terrific jersey blazer worn over a cocktail look. "When I started, it was all about fantasy. I am learning more about my client and am changing the way I am designing," Cota explained.