It was the series of crisp white looks at the end of the Ports 1961 Spring show that editors and retailers gravitated toward. But Fiona Cibani is switching things up for pre-fall and pushing rich jewel tones like emerald and cobalt blue. They looked positively smashing on a patchworked fox fur chubby. The Ports designer looked to Victor Vasarely's Optical art for inspiration and worked his pixelated, mosaiclike motifs into her eveningwear in particular. "I kept the silhouette clean"—fitted, with long sleeves and a high neckline—"so the gowns were all about the prints," she explained.

The collection also featured precisely tailored slim trousers and jackets cut from a dégradé houndstooth jacquard (houndstooth is emerging as a micro-trend this season, with Oscar de la Renta and Jason Wu showing the classic pattern). Most of the looks were fairly conservative, but there was one nubby sheath dress that hugged all the right curves—it was a piece a twentysomething girl would borrow from her mom's closet when she wants to look subtly sexy yet sophisticated.