Best known as the man behind Anna Sui's distinctive knits, James Coviello has been slowly building up his own sportswear line over the last two years. His spring collection was conclusive proof that he has an eye—and a wit—all his own.

Like many designers of his generation, Coviello likes to work a bit of retro irony into his collection, but he kept it from being cloying by adding just a touch of tough street edge. He took spring's ubiquitous sherbet colors and pushed them just a few hues deeper, resulting in unusual, interesting combinations: mauve and yellow, chartreuse and raspberry, lime and nude tones. A Fair Isle sweater got reworked as a ballet-neck tank top, paired with a skinny skirt; a full-skirted, floral-print dress was saved from becoming saccharine by the addition of a goofy, oversize bow and a very genteel black leather dog collar at the throat. Coviello's basics—pencil skirts, loose jackets and slim trousers—played smart second fiddle to lovely crocheted tops and snappy striped cardigans.