Monique Lhuillier has classic tastes: She loves a tweed jacket, a floral print, a frothy, frilly gown—and she does them well. It's no surprise, then, that her spring show contained all of these elements—but against her chosen theme of California dreaming, Lhuillier's own strengths looked out of place.

The white linen jean pants and coat that opened the show, as well as the tropical-print bathing suits and cover-ups, conveyed the beachy message. But things got downright confusing when lace and tweed were paired with safari-esque khaki (not very California) and when multi-tiered gowns in Laura Ashley-like florals shared the runway with beautifully minimal examples, like a stunning asymmetric pleated bias number. The problem here was that Lhuillier's theme didn't play to her best qualities. Next time, she'd do best to stick closer to home.