The familiar story about Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs is that they excel at all things cut-out, skintight, and sexy. Apparently, the designers are sick of hearing it, because this season they set out to prove that Cushnie et Ochs
is about more than just body-con dresses. The very first look established the new tone: Aline Weber exited in a terrific all-white look of crispy viscose, sculpted to have a levitating volume. Volume
: That was fresh territory for Cushnie and Ochs, and they explored it in a few ways, notably by flaring skirts, cutting squared-off tops and jackets, and playing with dense fabrics such as rubberized wool. Print was another surprise, and the designers did well with it, creating a digital print that captured the glow of sunlight winking through a canopy of trees. One of the standout looks here used the print in a floor-skimming skirt of fluid silk, which was paired with a black turtleneck sweater and a cropped black jacket of velvety kangaroo.
Not a bit of skin on show there, and indeed, the most important development for Cushnie et Ochs this season may be an evolving interest in modesty. Perhaps it was an effect of this season's inspiration, which was pilgrims and witches, but in any case the designers absorbed this new reticence into their idiom. A strong look like the starchy white top worn with wide-legged white pants could be an outlier—we'll see in coming seasons—but there was even a sense of modesty in many of their stock-in-trade body-con looks. The most vampishly sexy dress on the runway today, for instance, was a forest green pencil dress with long sleeves and a neckline that pointed up at the model's exposed collarbones. Not much was exposed, but a great deal was revealed.