Emma Cook, a young London designer, likes to do a lot of research for her seasonal theses; but as she progresses from a sophomore to a junior she’s learning not to lay her themes on too thick. She described her Spring 2004 presentation as inspired by “old-fashioned ideas about futurism, Rodchenko, the constructivists, and 1920’s statues of ladies.”

What it meant was that Cook had worked machine-age cog motifs and photoprints of butterflies and flowers into flat cutouts that formed straps on dresses, neckpieces, and belts. Other details, like geometric, Deco-inspired leather inserts, also picked up on the Jazz-Age references that are currently preoccupying twenty-something designers the world over. Cook was aiming for a harder edge than usual, via slick black chintz coatdresses and some ultra-cropped boleros, but these served chiefly as garnish for the things she’s happiest doodling every season: little jersey dresses with a certain nonintellectual innocence about them.