As she watched the parade of models sway down the runway in Narciso Rodriguez’s sexy spring show, Julianna Margulies turned more than once to her front-row neighbor Stephanie Seymour and rolled her eyes in delirious delight. She wasn’t the only one. Inspired by Brazil, and especially the wild abandon of Carnival, Narciso Rodriguez sent out a collection that married his meticulously cool elegance to a steamy new sensuality.

What’s become his signature look—skintight dresses, molded to every curve—was still the heart of the proceedings. But this season, Rodriguez warmed it up with earthy, textured fabrics like linen, washed silk, and crisp white cotton. He inserted sheer panels of tulle or simply cut out bits of the bodice for a glimpse of skin, and made a lattice of lingerie straps across the back. Slim pants were worn with trapeze jackets or tops whose swingy peplums perfectly emphasized the model’s own curves. True to form, the designer sent out a wealth of lovely evening gowns, made from fluttering parachute silk (a welcome change from the season’s ubiquitous chiffon) in black, violet, rose, white, and nude, gently detailed with pintucks, tulle, or a bit of beading.

There may not have been any huge departure from the look he’s made so clearly his own, but Rodriguez designs according to his convictions, not the prevailing trends. Combined with his formidable talent, that relentless focus will keep his faithful customers very happy this spring.