Slightly abstract pleated skirts with parkas or graphically printed overcoats: Jonathan Saunders' Fall collection was, as he put it, "about ease, and getting back to daywear." With the emphasis on drop waists and a sportier attitude, the proportions skewed longer, sometimes to below the knee. If not exactly minimal, there was a modernist punch about it all that seemed fresh, especially when Saunders used bold printing effects (which looked like roller painting) to create zones of matte and shine. At its best—as in a black coat bisected with a broad horizontal band of silver and a skirt with a sharply angled silver patch to match—it captured something of the long-lamented energy of Helmut Lang's urban chic, a simplicity and brevity of expression several designers have been harking back to this season.

But what had become of the long dresses printed in vibrant colors Saunders used to do so well? This season, although there was a passage of fringed skirts cut from tags of fabric that might be construed as "cocktail," he ended on a non-evening note, with a cashmere intarsia sweater pulled over a skirt. Perhaps he didn't want to compromise his day-wardrobe statement, but it was a disappointment that he passed up the chance to further develop a look he's so good at.