Challenging himself to create a wardrobe of "interchangeable pieces," Matthew Ames took classic shapes—jackets, pants, shirts—and "really stripped them down and cleansed them," he explained. The show was a subdued and mellow affair, too, compared to most runway to-dos with their pop soundtracks. Unfortunately, the cleanliness of the surroundings felt sterile; there was an energy missing that would have brought to life those pieces that were truly beautiful.

Among the things of beauty were Ames' leather coats and jackets. Especially appealing were the soft, supple camel-colored toppers with big, enveloping hoods—a great alternative to a motorcycle jacket. Other cold-weather pieces benefited from outsize proportions. A coat of quilted cream cashmere engulfed the wearer like a gorgeous blanket.

When it came to the trousers, the excess of fabric was a bit too reminiscent of the harem trend that blessedly died out a few seasons ago. Ames' willingness to take a partisan stand on shape is admirable, but it might've worked better if he'd experimented with pleats or stretch instead; there are other ways to push pants forward than to make women look incredibly hippy.

Some of Ames' best pieces came in muted pastel shades. There was an androgynous undercurrent to the entire collection, and the use of a more feminine palette differentiated it from early-nineties minimalism. Sweet and strong miniskirts came in pink cashmere and pink leather, while a knee-length lavender dress in silk crepe draped to a coy V in the back.

Ames is clearly a whiz when it comes to tailoring. It will be interesting to watch where he takes his basics next.