Martin Grant is on the side of evolution, not revolution, each season turning out infallibly elegant dresses that make retailers salivate. (Witness Saks Fifth Avenue honcho Ron Frasch, patiently standing along with everyone else throughout this longish, unseated show.)
Grant's broad stroke of an idea for Spring was strong color and graphic lines. You saw it best, he felt, in the first look out, an impeccable black shift sliced with bold windowpane panels of hot pink. These were very ladylike clothes, skewing on the side of evening—or at least a very important workday. Still, there was a sporty thread in that color-blocking, as well as in the perforated leather cut into dresses. And the rib-cage insets merging into slim bucket pockets gave soigné frocks and coats a race-car sleekness. That's important; Grant's look may be finished, but it's never too "done." To wit: The models' gently glamorous, waved hair was worn loose but neat, and their makeup was bare save for the neon lips.
Of course, when your focus is on simple clothes, the details are all the more important, hence the chocolate leather piping that was set into the center of a belt and into the cuffs of a trench, or the subtly witty satin Christian Louboutin sandals made to look like open shirt collars. What should fly off store racks: any of those trenches, a beautiful tuxedo jumpsuit, and a ridiculously simple cream day dress banded in black that can be worn until it disintegrates. And when it does, our guess is that Grant will still be around in his quiet powerhouse way to sell you another.