Emilio de la Morena does not do casual. The designer is a specialist in party frocks and dressed-up separates, polished and a little weird, and if memory serves, 2007 was the last time he showed pants. There's very little "street" in his look and a strong flavor of ladylikeness. What makes de la Morena compelling is that he applies himself to ensuring that dressed up, polished, and ladylike feel modern; he doesn't go in for a lot of froth.

This season, his clothes were almost entirely froth-free, in fact. There was essentially one silhouette—knee-length pencil dresses and skirts topped by tailored sheer blouses and fitted, squared-off jackets—and the collection's sense of strictness was underlined by de la Morena's emphasis on geometric embellishment. Several pieces came gridded in thin leather tubing bordered with beads; others featured layered panels of squared-off fabric, or color blocks of a high-radian sine curve print. De la Morena also executed the sine curve as tone-on-tone embroidery on organza. The few hints of softness were seen in nice if unspectacular pointelle knits and in the kick of ruffle sometimes appended to the back of a skirt, a detail that felt extraneous. De la Morena's organzas also came with bands and bibs of micro-ruffles, applied with severity; never has a ruffle looked less like frou. The collection as a whole had an astringent quality, amplified by a black-white-red palette that occasionally ebbed into blush, purple, and bright orange. There were lots of attractive pieces to be found here, but not a whole lot of fun.