The search for escape routes out of the "peasant" and "tribal" themes of Spring—without abandoning the color and energy they brought to the scene—is becoming part of the saga of this season's collections. When Sachiko Okada and Aaron Sharif of Blaak took their own particular streetwise diversion off the nomad path, they ended up with a hit.

Adding a tougher edge to hippie eclecticism, Blaak put zippy bomber jackets in overdyed furnishing fabric over layered lace-edged skirts, and used shots of bright orange, turquoise and purple against military greens. And while Mexican references could be seen in a great stripy shoulder bag and the knitted shawls wound around some outfits, the real success of the collection was that it didn't look like a bunch of travelers' souvenirs. That's thanks to the rumpled treatment of washed and worn-in cotton drill and silk, the offhand sexiness of the drapey jersey tanks knotted at the shoulders, and the fact that the models swaggered in their hip-slung skirts and pants in elongated Robert Clergerie flats. No '60s hippie ever dressed like that, nor had that attitude—which is exactly what made this collection look so fresh.