Phoebe Philo hit her stride at Chloé with a neat view of how to get around the season's classic themes without ending up in middle-aged Frumpsville. Town-and-country styling, mannish trousers, camel coats, cable knits, conservative blouses, and fifties-femme dresses were all in her collection, but Philo applied a refreshing dash of girl-think to such pressing questions as, Will my butt look big in that?, and, Won't it make me look like Mom?

Sheżd worked out a hip way of handling horsey. A generous camel-hair wrap and a big brown-and-white striped poncho nodded toward their horse-blanket origins without making a big deal of it. With them came the new Chloé pants, an item this young woman always cuts with a scrupulous eye for the crucial back view. Her wide-leg, cuffed trousers achieved the borrowed-from-your-man look while also conspiring to flatter, a point she proved by wearing a pair herself when she appeared at the end of the show.

What's nice, too, is Philo's knack for breaking up looks with her favorite little tops, like gathered-under-the-bust camisoles. They can lighten up, say, a pair of glen plaid pants or go just as well with everyday jeans. She also managed to navigate blouses, in high-necked cream lace or pin-tucked emerald satin, without making them seem insufferably prim.

True, some of her retro-influenced chiffon dresses couldn't escape the inevitable comparison to Marc Jacobs. But that's true of many collections this season, and it didn't detract from Philo's breezily cool grasp of what young women really want to wear.