Since they showed their first collection six seasons ago, Nicole Noselli and Daphne Gutierrez, the team known as Bruce, have amassed a cult New York following who rely on their buttery-soft leathers and figure-hugging jeans. But with their Spring 2001 collection, Bruce proved that they have plenty more to offer—and that they are ready for the big time.

There was nothing superfluous or irrelevant about their clothes: Done almost exclusively in army green and black, they relied on precise tailoring and clarity of vision rather than facile gimmickry. There were diagonal gathered tops, asymmetric trousers with only one full-cut leg, a couple of signature Bruce leather bomber jackets and a modern military coat with a zipper on the side. The sensational draped asymmetric dress that Devon wore proved that directional design can be perfectly wearable. And, to top it all off, this season Noselli and Gutierrez added a few men's looks to the mix.

Now that several independent-minded talents like Miguel Adrover and Daryl K have been recognized by investors, it seems clear that Bruce should be next in line to receive the serious backing that they so clearly deserve.