Cacharel nixed the runway format this season, preferring to present the collection in its showroom with designers Ling Liu and Dawei Sun on hand to walk editors through the looks.

They showed off a nicely executed coat with mannish proportions and dropped shoulders, pointing out how it offset the various floral tapestry-inspired dresses. They talked about the season's signature motif of hummingbirds flitting amid flowers—how it was first hand-drawn and then enhanced and filled in digitally with contrast patterns. This delicate print appeared on a flouncy skirt and a quilted cotton parka—one that happened to be lined in rabbit and trimmed with coyote. Don't forget it when you're bemoaning all the black outerwear come fall.

But there was also a metaphor or two in that motif: Because, while the designers offered up a pleasing array of work-appropriate dresses and classic poplin shirts, they still have yet to spread their wings. Or blossom. Take your pick. Liu and Sun say the brand is being positioned to young women who might be starting their first job; apparently, prices have dropped to reflect this shift. Diamond tricot sweaters and gray flannel skirts will pass for the first week; the floral knit dress with black side inserts might even prompt a compliment. But once the paychecks begin, these girls will soon graduate beyond the collection.

"She has lots of style; she's not traditional," said Sun of his Cacharel muse. "She's always wanting to try different things." Hopefully this will prove true of the designers themselves. Words, meet actions.