Appropriately for an Olympic year, New York fashion week opened with a shot of high-octane activewear, courtesy of Nautica. The inspiration was the sport of ice-sailing, whose speed and ferocity were established with an opening video, so the literalness of the aerodynamic second-skin items that came down the catwalk was scarcely a surprise. (Though one might have expected a bit more padding.) Creative director Mirian Lamberth, now in her second season with the label, came from Tommy Hilfiger, and her new gig is as much about the old red, white, and blue as her last one. But her woman's touch elevated all that competitive testosterone. As she said after the show, "This is the way a woman sees men."

High-tech sports pieces aside, Lamberth's vision created an appealing mash-up of formal and casual, cashmere and nylon, as in a brown nylon peacoat over a cream cashmere sweater or—the reverse—a charcoal jacket over red nylon pants. Cargo pants were cut in pinstripe and herringbone wool; classic outerwear was reconfigured in tech fabrics. For evening, shawl-collared velvet jackets were worn with indigo denims, a white windbreaker took the place of a tuxedo vest, and a puffer stood in for a tux jacket. The easy dressiness fitted right in with Lamberth's mission statement. An even better fit was the slouchy indolence of a cable-knit robe—or the final parade of 12-packs in long johns.