Beneath a floating ceiling solid with lightbulbs—4,300 in all—Dries Van Noten sent out a sweet and whimsical collection where the message was in the mix.

Van Noten worked with the season's ladylike theme but translated it through the eyes of a madcap English milady. Her charming, haphazard vision revolved around unexpected juxtapositions--a tweedy coat worn over poison-green flapper dresses (beaded with blossom-shaped sequins); a mustard funnel-neck sweater, thick enough for a British winter, with a horizontally paneled emerald velvet skirt.

Van Noten cited the influence of the Bloomsbury Group of artists and writers in twenties London, and, indeed, their off-key color sense and devil-may-care attitude to clothes saturated this artsy collection. Even when Van Noten showed an outfit as unembellished as a ribbed black polo neck with wide "Oxford Bag" pants, he wrapped an ivory hand-knit scarf around it—and embroidered the trailing ends with a crusting of amethyst beads. There was a '50s feel, too, in the nubbly wool coats with thick fur collars, and the buoyant gored skirts in brightly colored silk stripes or fruity velvet—a lighter reworking of Van Noten's Spanish gypsy crinolines of last season.