Only in Narciso Rodriguez's precision-cut world could a few inches mean so much. But he's known as the man whose monochrome dresses leave barely enough room to breathe, so when Rodriguez opens his spring show with a loose, floaty pink frock, well, it's news.

There was lots of news in this collection, all good. Maybe it's those trips to Brazil (his favorite vacation spot), but Rodriguez is definitely easing up. He still cuts like an architect—mapping the body's curves with careful arcs and parabolas—but now, the end result is warmer, sexier, easier. He used lightweight fabrics like papery silk, sheer cotton voile, linen, and nylon to construct lean trousers, trim jackets, neat skirts, and body-skimming tanks. And vivid color took it even further: turquoise, coral, pink, and light green danced amid crisp white and inky black.

One of the week's most widespread trends has been the waistline's move upward, to mid-torso or even Empire level; Rodriguez has been doing that for a few seasons, but he hammered it home this time with mini-corsets and bra tops, sometimes layered atop each other, and A-line cuts that flared out above the ribs. His trimly tailored shorts, ending just above the knee, were a convincing argument for an otherwise questionable look. Rodriguez closed with a series of lovely, liquid silk dresses whose curving skirts rippled out behind the models like sails swaying in a gentle breeze. Dreamy.