Peter Som did his homework, visiting the Louvre and studying eighteenth-century garments at the Costume Institute, before designing for spring. Thankfully, though, he didn't take his sources too literally. Instead, he presented a collection that, while it took few risks, was full of pretty but not overdone confections that should be right up his well-heeled customer's avenue. "I was thinking about pared-down luxury—not minimalism," the designer said. "My aim was to spin texture and tone with a light touch."

There was lightness in the palette, which ranged from dove gray to buttermilk and was punctuated with patent shoes in "crazy makeup" colors. Generally, Som went in for matte effects rather than shine, and fabrics like Jacquards and burlap parchments added a tactile quality. Watteau backs offered a variation on the trapeze, moving volume to the rear, a conceit that was especially effective in the finale trio of washed organdy gowns. Som's collection stressed evening over daywear—not a lot of this would look right in an office—but then he knows his fans aren't exactly 9 to 5 types.