A recent trip to Japan set Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra off: "We started thinking about traditional Japanese fashion, and early-eighties Comme, and Yohji, which we love," Tagliapietra said backstage the night of the show.

The duo are self-described math nerds who can spend hours poring meticulously over their patterns—they're not exactly known as avant-garde—but an admission of being in a Kawakubo state of mind is always a sure tip-off that experimentation will follow. Sure enough, you could see a more sculptural and off-kilter quality to their signature draping, even if it didn't hit you in the face. Spiraled and compressed folds added substance and weight to one look's waist, while on another the pleats seemed almost spontaneously draped around the body. The designers tried out an interesting new technique on their signature jersey dresses and tops, anchoring them with woven silk backs, usually in a contrasting color plucked from their beautiful palette of desert-sunset hues. But for all that, there was actually a gorgeous simplicity to this collection. It marked both a return to their founding vision and a step forward.