"A runway show in New York?" said an exhilarated (and slightly flustered) Camilla Stærk backstage. "It's a big deal." For Spring she had mounted a simple tableau vivant-style presentation of 12 looks on 12 models, but this week she put on a full-fledged show. It was an important move ahead for a designer who transplanted her studio here from London only months ago.

Stærk pointed to the experimental fifties filmmaker Maya Deren as an inspiration, for the artful way she dressed in that restrictive era. She also cited the "isolated romanticism" of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Hence the New Order soundtrack, which momentarily conjured visions of the candy-colored gowns of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Those expectations were soon swept aside by Stærk's austere looks, which offered subtle subversions of ladylike fare such as the shirtwaist dress and the matching shift and jacket. Shapely high-waisted skirts in white coated cotton were layered over bright T-shirts. A widow's-peak neckline gave a plain black sheath dress just a hint of wickedness. She even managed to make the Peter Pan collar look moodily sexy. Overall, it offered a more complete picture of what this designer's distinct vision is all about.