Tadashi Shoji had mermaids on the brain for Resort. "Under the sea" is how the designer described it at his Garment Center showroom. He took the inspiration quite literally, embroidering a mermaid motif on a netted crop top and matching circle skirt. There were seashells, too, which were used in a passementerie pattern on a short white dress with satin piping at the waist, as well as a black top-and-skirt set. The tulle overlay of a sleeveless blush-colored shirtdress, again piped in satin, was embroidered with starfish and coral. A long-sleeve black gown had more character than the typical lace column dress, thanks to mermaids embroidered between the vines.

A tiny daisy lace was used on a series of wide-striped dresses in various silhouettes and colors. There was a playful mini in white and fuchsia, and a preppy gown with a bateau neckline in white and true blue. Shoji could perhaps have omitted the long black-and-white dress with vertical stripes, which felt like it was uncomfortably stuck between night and day.

As it happens, the most interesting series in the collection had nothing to do with the ocean. For the first time ever, Shoji used cotton, inspired by a gingham-and-striped patchwork blazer that he made himself last summer. One in navy, another in pink, the short dresses had an almost casual feel; a true departure from the designer's glittery repertoire. Here's hoping he plays with the humble material even more for his Spring outing.