Benjamin Cho knows how to edit: His short, quiet show, held in the Japan Society's auditorium, contained a mere 16 looks. The collection was sponsored by Shiseido, which has been backing promising new designers as a way to get their message into the mainstream.

Cho is possessed of both technical skills and a sense of humor—a happy combination. His first look was a lightweight black knife-pleated jacket worn over skinny black pants whose white lacings started at a pair of Converse high-tops and ran all the way up the leg. This was followed by a lovely black jacket with a graceful cascading ruffle at the waist. The designer's side-lacing pieces had some S&M charm, and there were clever dresses with circular inserts of gathered contrasting fabric, as well as pretty ruched tops. But ruching and lacing aren't exactly new ideas, and—even with severe editing—the looks got repetitive.