No matter what the cultural stereotypes are about bookworms and their stunted sense of style, the fashion world knows that smart and pretty can—and often do—coexist. Take Peter Som's spring line. In a light and lovely collection, he demonstrated a practiced touch at merging those two ideas, which is part of what makes him a favorite with the young social set.

Som, a CFDA/Vogue Initiative finalist, used the idea of a warm-weather weekend getaway as his starting point, showing breezy dresses in floral prints or deep colors. But unlike some designers who seem to forget their clients have jobs, Som showed plenty of great work pieces: linen tweed jackets, slim skirts, and crisply tailored full-leg trousers, even some clean suits and loose, swingy coats. He puts fabrics in unusual contexts: a filigree lace top with khaki board shorts, for example, or a velvet tank with a silk burlap suit. And he uses retro references without looking like he's joined the raid on grandma's closet; a gold floral balmacaan coat had the aristocratic grace of something from the middle of the last century, but its generous cut and deep pockets kept it utterly contemporary.