There’s been more than the usual amount of drama at the House of Blass this year. In February, one day after they’d shown the Spring line, house creative director Lars Nilsson and his design partner Herve Pierre Braillard were fired. Two weeks later, Blass management appointed Michael Vollbracht, an illustrator and sometime designer—and perhaps more importantly, a close friend of the late designer’s—as the new name behind the label.

Vollbracht’s mission is to retain Blass’s fabled, and faithful, customers, while also bringing in the next generation of ladies-in-waiting, and he made his ties to the old days clear by putting some of Blass’s favorite former models, like Pat Cleveland and Diane Dewitt, on the runway. This fall, he’s hitting the road as the house ambassador, with trunk shows lined up in Chicago, Palm Beach, and Houston.

The spring collection he showed is sure to appeal to the loyalist camps around the country. Blass classics, like cashmere sweaters paired with taffeta skirts, lightweight wool suits in navy or eye-catching pink, and taffeta clutch coats over slim skirts, can’t fail to please, while airy chiffon evening dresses offer just the right amount of flutter for formal events. Some of Vollbracht’s reiterations looked more clunky than classic on the runway, and their appeal to the younger crowd remains to be seen. But as Blass himself said, “timing is everything,” and Vollbracht may just turn out to be right on target.