designer Jonathan Riss yearned for more fluidity this season, marking a departure of sorts from his recent exploration of form. While he didn't abandon the now-signature Jay Ahr flounced "kick" skirt—never forsake a retail favorite—you could see how he had collapsed his silhouettes, drawing out a wearable ease that jibed nicely with a pre-collection offering. The label has closed the chapter on the zipper detailing that defined several previous seasons; in its place, a perforation technique of micro "lozenges" punched into sturdy canvas. Sometimes the motif disappeared into stripes; other times it was embellished by flat metal studs. Most often, it came backed in black tulle, which did double duty as structural and tonal reinforcement. That recalled Italian modern artist Lucio Fontana's trick of adding depth to his slashed canvases, and Riss acknowledged that the granddaddy of spatialism is an ongoing inspiration.
Azzedine Alaïa appeared as a more literal reference, particularly in the leather latticework pants or the dotted pattern in relief across slouchy tops. At one point, Riss referred to the designer as a "master" while distancing himself from his work by touting Jay Ahr's effortless sensibility. His glazed knits paired with cascading, higher-waisted skirts confirmed as much, and he also managed to make his asymmetric hemlines look uncontrived. Overall, the new fluidity led to more finesse, and the collection's focus—from the repetition of just a few fabrics to the monochromatic palette accented by a Fontana-esque rose and cobalt blue—suggests that Riss increasingly realizes the impact of restraint.