Unlike most designers, who go into neutral on any topic other than fashion, Kenneth Cole's political views are at the heart of his company—in his ads, his marketing, even at his runway shows, where he starts every presentation with a short film full of tongue-in-cheek social commentary.

Would that Cole had as strong a point of view when it comes to fashion. His spring collection was made up of clean, straightforward, but essentially anonymous takes on current trends—pencil skirts, cropped bomber jackets, knit tops, seamed jersey dresses. There's a need and a place for those clothes, but the runway demands a designer who can tell a story, even if it's just a twisted classic. Cole may be passionate about hot-button issues, but we have yet to see that depth of feeling show up on the catwalk.