Anyone who has felt New York fashion week needed a shot of fresh energy will be glad to know that Narciso Rodriguez is back to stay after his extended Milanese stint.

Rodriguez showed one of his strongest collections in seasons, relying on deft tailoring, clean lines and meticulous attention to detail. A double-layered cotton and wool shift hugged the body and offered a peek-a-boo hint of red piping at the seams; tuxedo trousers were paired with a layered T-shirt, limpid button-down and stretch-wool jumper, all with the sleeves hacked off. A red fox coat appeared sumptuous and rich, yet faintly savage—think of the look as tough chic.

Rodriguez's evening dresses hinted at the loose, light silhouette of the 1920s, but there was nothing retro about his dangling chains and Swarovski crystals, metallic belts and stretch wool overlays. With his short, highly focused collection, Rodriguez proved that a few well-executed ideas are far more compelling and newsworthy than predictable gimmicks and flash-in-the-pan trends.