Who says Americans have the market cornered on clever sportswear? Martine Sitbon's spring show was a distinctly French commentary on current trends that proved smart design knows no borders.

Most of the season's usual suspects were present and accounted for: blouson jackets, lingerie pieces, jumpsuits and micro shorts, sport influences, and utility details. But Sitbon is one of those designers who can reference the themes of the moment without relinquishing her own (artsy) identity. She softened a safari jacket by cutting it in pale-lavender satin, and feminized the sport motif by using wide, striped ribbon—inserted here and there on short, swingy jersey dresses, wrapped around bodices and run down the seam of slim satin pants.

Sitbon knows how to flatter the ins and outs of a woman's figure with innovative cutting, although sometimes she piled up too many ideas in one outfit. But in a season full of me-too collections—seemingly aimed at a teenage constituency—her strong sense of self was refreshing. And who else but a French designer would be so comfortable making corsets and garter belts the basis of a series of sexy little dresses?