Simple things often drive creativity—at least, they do for Robert Rodriguez. "I was sitting in my studio, and I saw a pile of black shopping bags," he said at a preview of his pre-fall collection, "and I just started cutting them into different shapes and silhouettes." The cutouts lent themselves to a series of color-blocked pieces, like a body-con long-sleeve dress in a scuba fabric, a French-blue shirt with a full-front zipper, and a midweight jacket with a detachable hood. The hooded topper was one of the range's highlights; a white leather moto jacket with grommet-covered sleeves was another.

"I was really in the mood for shopping, so I tried to design a current collection that girls will want to buy and wear," Rodriguez added. This editor was eyeing a pair of loose-fitting leather track pants with zipper details and a slouchy gray and black suit that brought a laid-back coolness to officewear. The designer also had several ruffle miniskirts and high-waisted leather shorts on hand, alongside a sleek knee-grazing black dress with sexy cutouts. Not bad for an afternoon spent working with a pair of scissors and a pile of shopping bags.