Perhaps the economic maelstrom is producing at least one helpful side effect for designers. After years when many have found themselves making runway statements for the sake of it, or driven to keep up with what other people do for no good reason, they're now being forced to make a hard assessment of who they are and what they do best.

That's the case with Sinha-Stanic's Aleksandar Stanic and Fiona Sinha, who decided to concentrate on 19 draped dresses and one pantsuit for Fall, end of story. "Actually, it's been enjoyable. Now that we've stopped dealing with the big-show scenario, we've gone back to what people liked about our clothes in the first place," said Stanic. "Downsizing means I'm draping dresses on Fiona's body again, like we used to."

It's those expertly placed tucks and folds, strategically positioned to "minimize the hip and flatter where it matters—and make it modern," said Sinha, that women always respond to. So this season they've utilized a screen-grab print from the backdrop of their last show, colored it in tints of violet and purple, added marabou feather edgings, and worked on Pearly King and Queen button patterns and photo prints. The result: a compact little collection that distills the best of their talent, and which Stanic insists might just as well be worn by day as evening. "All you need is to throw on a biker jacket," he claims, pointing to the cropped shearling cycle jackets that are their one concession to outerwear.