TSE flirts with fashion, but its bread and butter is basics. That's not to say the twain shall never meet. Brian Reyes, newly installed as the creative consultant to the line, spoke of a "new way of basics" at a preview of the pre-fall collection, his first for the house. "The story's mostly about layering," he said. "How a woman gets dressed and undressed." That woman might pull on a bubble-shaped cardigan coat (part of a jacket-and-dress ensemble like a twinset sent through the looking glass) or a pair of cigarette pants with the staples she's already got. All in double-faced cashmere, naturally. No denying that the head seat at TSE's table has seen people come and go the last few seasons, but cashmere is a constant.

There was an architectural feel to the new collection, which Reyes ascribed to his experiments in treating knits like wovens. Coats and dresses were elaborately seamed to snake around the body and hold their shape. That lent a little spine to even the loungiest items, like a dressed-up pajama pant, while rippling capes struck a more feminine note. Piece by piece, you could see Reyes building up a new repertoire. What will follow? He gave one indication: evening, like the crepe and knit A-line mod minidress.