The journey on Julien David's runway went from the great outdoors of snowy slopes to the great-there's-a-taxi outdoors of city streets. The collection was more overtly thematic than usual, but he mostly managed it with typical cleverness. In the well-worn aprés-ski territory, David turned puffa quilting into tiny circles on a silver party frock, and if you looked closely at the Fair Isle he pieced into anoraks and cut into chic little hooded blousons and skirts, you'd see city skylines and Hummers. "Our eyes are so used to seeing those Tyrolean patterns that you don't really see the difference," David explained.

The axis that spun country toward town was a crisp white shirtdress printed with two views—one mountains, the other a cityscape—abstracted as if seen through shutters. (In the urban glare and blare, the Tyrolean motif shrank into shirt collars, and there David's sneakily avant-garde tailoring was what stood out. It came in what he called a "bidirectional" houndstooth, which subtly zigzags from left to right. It's custom-made for him, as most of his fabrics are, in Japan. It's easy to see why David's coats are the thing that sell most at his longtime retailers like the Webster and Colette, and now at new supporters like Browns, Lane Crawford, and tough-to-crack Susan of Burlingame. Coolly elegant street wear is David's strength, and logically his comfort zone. Credit him for leaving it, but knowing when to come home.