It's true—Barbara Tfank is not trying to reinvent the wheel. Season in and season out, she turns out pretty day and evening dresses. Her silhouettes, mostly inspired by the midcentury, are only updated slightly as the years pass. Yet Tfank's work doesn't feel dated. And that's thanks to her attention to fabric, the thing that really makes or breaks a collection of classics.

For Resort, Tfank looked to Monet's paintings for ideas on color and print. "Resort is a fun time to dream, experiment, and play," she said. Pastels were a dominant force and particularly successful in a pale green and white striped cotton day dress, which was accented with the faintest pink. Another print, an embossed rose gold over a shimmering linenlike fabric, was special enough to stand on its own but simple enough to take on a few statement jewels. "Clients will come to me and say, 'My husband bought me this gorgeous diamond necklace—now I need a dress to match it,' " Tfank explained. But the winner was an eggshell blue gazar skirt, mid-length, printed with tiny white flowers resembling digitized needlepoint. "This would look just as good with a white T-shirt as it does with this bra top," Tfank said. Maybe even better.