Have you heard about The Girl With the Python Tattoo—the soon-to-be-released best seller by Stella McCartney? No dystopian Swedish scenes or bedeviled vigilantes in this one. For her latest collection, McCartney cast an eye on embellished women and put the spirit into her clothes: She had been "looking at the type of women who would have a snake tattoo," she said at her rainy alfresco presentation today, "and reflecting that into the most beautiful jacquard of a snake."

Ironic, maybe, that a collection premised on women unnaturally decorated would put such an emphasis on natural colors and natural materials. (Banish the thought that Stella would ever use actual snake.) But then, it's springtime, and that means fresh new beginnings. "Celebrating women, celebrating a new season," McCartney enthused. "Really bringing a lot of emotion into a collection in a very hopeful, springlike manner." She had a dab-hand with her embossed-snake pieces—a little coatdress here, an oversize bomber there—mixed and matched with seasonal florals. Mannered it may have been, but nothing was overly effortful. Even the shoes were shown with their soft backs stepped on, the ballet slippers literally slipped into.

A cocktail section introduced swooping lines of duchesse satin (shown over mini shorts, no less!) and embellishments embroidered and appliquéd. The most fun of these had a surreal scatter of lips and burnt matchsticks. It figures. The girl who submits to the tattooist's art is a girl who plays with fire.