This was Daphne Gutierrez and Nicole Noselli's second season back on the runway after a three-year gap. Everybody loves a comeback; the challenge for the designers going forward will be to sustain the enthusiasm that greeted them last time out. How are their chances? Very good, from the looks of the little black dresses and casual-chic tailoring they showed today. Backstage the duo insisted, "Our look is simple." That's only partly right. There are no extra bells and whistles in Bruce's designs, but there are plenty of special details, the kind that cause the style cognoscenti to sit up and take noticethe razor-sharp knife pleating in the bodice of a strapless dress, the dense jet beading on a white silk top, and the ever-so-subtle padded shoulders that turned the otherwise straightforward sheath that opened the show into a power dress.
This season's standouts included a long jacket and a slim shin-grazing pencil skirt worn with an ikat-like print scarf, a shocking-pink cocktail dress with tiers of pressed ruffles on the bodice and a deep scoop back, and a plunge-front dress with an embroidered neckline. There were shades of the seventies in a washed-silk safari jacket and in an off-the-shoulder dress, but Gutierrez and Noselli had better success than most at making those classics look fresh and modern.