When a label is sailing along as smoothly as Lars Nilsson's Nina Ricci, the temptation to stick with familiar formulas is hard to resist. But if the audience, which included the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, was expecting a reprise of the designer's lingerie-inspired frocks, it was in for a surprise. He instead sent out dresses in crisp men's shirting fabrics. These billowed rather than draped, and came with shoulder straps and Empire-waist bows and belts in thick satin ribbon.

On a similarly unexpected note, Nilsson proposed seersucker for evening, pairing blue-and-white-striped trousers with a silver sequined shell. What a snappy idea—one that he might have explored further. It would've been interesting to see him use seersucker for, say, a ball skirt, worn with an embellished tank or sweater, or even for a full-blown C.Z. Guest-style gown. Still, the new generation of socialites for whom Nilsson designs will find plenty to love in this collection, from a simple trench in cotton satin to standout suits with bell-shape skirts in cotton drill.

Of course, romance and the house of Ricci are nearly inseparable, as Nilsson well knows. Thanks to his beautiful color palette of berry red, gold beige, and boreal pink, this show was not without its feminine charms.