Pedro Lourenço opted out of a Paris show in favor of a digital presentation. It's worth mentioning, because his decision to focus on the product rather than the theatrics of the runway resulted in his most promising collection to date. Like many others this season, Lourenço looked to the forties and fifties as a jumping-off point. The key to the success of his new clothes is that they retained little of the rigid formality of those decades. "I wanted everything soft and light," he said at a preview. Cases in point, cocktail dresses with heat-transferred shiny crocodile motifs so 2-D they looked like digital prints, and a red-and-black leopard coat whose pattern was likewise laser-cut and glued on.

Why go to the trouble, when other designers would be content to do a print, and customers might not be savvy enough to tell the difference? Lourenço is the first to admit he's a bit technology-obsessed. Technique counts for a lot with him, too. Here, a bolero and pencil skirt made of wrinkle-proof Japanese organza "feathers" struck a somewhat over-the-top note, but overall his handwork was subtle. That meant that smart tailoring—for example, a velvet pantsuit built for comfort with a silk crepe back—could come to the fore. Pleats have become a hot topic this season, and Lourenço's were charming, especially in striped moiré. This was a savvy step forward for the young Brazilian.