Daphne Gutierrez and Nicole Noselli are so low-key and their clothes so unobtrusively, anonymously cool, that you might not have noticed their disappearance from the New York fashion scene in 2004. But seeing their fall show made you realize that you had missed them. Not only for their killer pintucked and pieced black lace bodysuit and micro-pleated purple minidress, but also for their off-kilter furry knits (tanks, blazers, and coats came in what they dubbed "gorilla wool" in the program notes). If the show had a bit of an eccentric streak, it was intentional.

"We looked back at all of our collections and saw that we did a lot of valid stuff that we'd like to expand on," Noselli said. "We ended so abruptly. This really is another beginning for us." The trousers with pleats at the side seams were a weak link, but high-waisted jeans, which they fearlessly paired with matching denim shirts, leave little doubt that they can cut a mean pair of pants. As for frocks, they ranged from a subtle matte-jersey dress with an easy, drawstring waist to a wood-paneling-print smock to a black lace cocktail number with sexy ribbon lacing. When the duo came out for a quick bow, a cheer erupted, along with a happy chorus of "I'm so glad they're back."