Diana Vreeland once said, "The eye has to travel." These days, says Maria Cornejo, "the eye has to slow down a bit." The designer is after a little bit of Zen in her life, and it came across in her Pre-Fall collection, with its prints lifted from nature. A blurry moss motif overlaid with a graphic block print made a big impact, and the black-and-white pebble pattern of an egg-shaped coat looked strong against the marble jacquard of a stretchy pencil skirt. Her approach to layering print this season was fairly fearless.

Elsewhere, she let the cut and silhouette of her clothes do the talking. Cornejo is known and loved for her easy sack dresses, but here she emphasized her sculptural yet androgynous tailoring; "They're clothes for the girl who reads," she says. "Finishing a book is aspirational right now." The fabrics she's using—stretch hessian and cotton découpé—have a lot of texture, but they're not heavy, a key point for clothes that land in stores in the early part of the summer. It wouldn't be a Maria Cornejo collection without a jumpsuit. This one came with a zip front, so her brainy girl can play the seductress if she wants to.