After a diaphanous collection for Spring, Nicole Miller was ready to shift gears. "Spring was so soft," she said at her studio yesterday. "I moved in a more architectural direction." She was thinking in particular of the film Gattaca, a sci-fi flick that seems to have made a bigger impression in the world of fashion than the world of cinema. Uma Thurman—the kind of girl with a boyish edge who appeals to Miller—was her muse. The little white collars Thurman wears in the movie appeared in the form of the new basic Miller proposed: a sleeveless little collared blouse.

The structured lines and uniform sensibility of future-world attire mixed with the glamour and sensuality of forties references to give the collection an against-the-grain feel. In the past few seasons, Miller has proven adept at marching in lockstep with her fellow designers and delivering on trends. Here she's off on her own, even if she did create a stylish version of the wide-legged pant that's been a runway fixture for some time. The independence suited her. The silhouette she's proposing—shoulder-padded to the nines—feels fresh again. Some of her more aggressive geometric angles are a little overstated, but not a menswear-styled sleeveless blazer, worn with wide trousers and one of those collared shirts. You could see that as standard-issue for the armies of the next millennium, whether they're fighting Gattaca-style genetic discrimination or waging plain old corner-office warfare.