In her second season as Chloé design head, Phoebe Philo hit a lanky, confident stride. For Fall 2002, she gave sexy vitality to leg-lengthening pants, curvy jackets, chiffon tops and refined Sergeant Pepper style military coats, while never laying the retro/vintage theme on too thick.

Philo did velvet flares, gray-washed jeans with military buttonhole details, and an easy, slouchy man’s pant. She even cut schoolboy shorts in a low-slung way that avoided any association with cutesy hot pants. And, in the teeth of competition from pretty much every designer around, she turned out the best biker pants in town. Done in worn-looking gray-brown leather and cropped just below the knee, they were shown with the spindliest stiletto-heeled pumps—the killer kicker. For the top half, Philo turned her attention to jackets and coats with something special about them, and brought new energy to Chloé’s long-held reputation for chiffon pieces. Her black military tailcoats and jackets with flowered appliqués and Indian embroideries channeled a boho-60's eclecticism without looking like dusty fleamarket finds. For evening, she added sparkle by running silver bugle beads in strips or streamers from the shoulders of layered chiffon tops and tunics in patterns inspired by Leon Bakst.

In short: top marks to Philo for staying true to her young Brit-girl instincts, while respecting—and living up to—Parisian standards of design.