Architect Philip Johnson's mid-century modern masterpiece, the Glass House, informed the fifties-style silhouettes and geometric-cut mirror appliqués of Pamella Roland's new collection. "For resort, I tend to design pieces that I would want to wear right now," said Roland in her studio, showing off a black mock-neck mini with a sheer panel insert across the shoulders. (She wore a cream version of the dress to this year's Cannes Film Festival.) Along with several day-to-night options—including an exceedingly flattering shirtwaist dress in sapphire blue and a silvery tweed skirt set inlaid with sheer paneling—there were plenty of gala-ready gowns.

Formalwear is the designer's bread and butter, so it's important she deliver in that category. A red carpet–destined number in chartreuse was pretty if out of place, its fluidity going against the rest of the collection's subtle structure. A lipstick red peplum bodice would have looked chicer matched with a pair of cigarette pants instead of a mermaid skirt. However, she did well with allover sequins, creating a cool honeycomb pattern for a short-sleeve dress that had a young, unfussy feel. Indeed, getting a design cliché like that right is no easy feat. "For a few seasons, I thought the world was over sequins," Roland said. "But women started to dress up again, and I realized they're never really gone."