After her breakout spring collection, Sari Gueron had a lot of people rooting for her. If her fall show didn't live up to some fans' heightened expectations, it didn't stop others from queuing up to sing her praises, nor did it wipe the post-show smile from Gueron's face as she described her inspiration: early-twentieth-century Vienna and its Wiener Werkstätte movement. Yes, it's an era that's been thoroughly mined by other designers, even as recently as last season, but familiarity didn't breed contempt for her lovely-as-can-be pin-tucked cotton and crinkle-chiffon dresses, her black-and-white color pairings, or her printed velvets.

New for Gueron were pin-thin stovepipe pants that suggested she is just as talented a tailor as she is a dressmaker. They ought to be scooped up by edgier girls who've previously shied away from her feminine fare. Others who are looking for a fresh cocktail silhouette would do well to slip into her navy velvet trapeze dress, a seriously pretty version of what is shaping up to be one of the season's important cuts. Gueron's gowns have made the rounds at fashion-industry events. A red pleated silk gauze number with a black velvet sash—along with the show's closing look, a lace and pin-tucked cotton floor-skimmer—had just the right mix of youth and glamour to earn a starring role on Hollywood's red carpet.