"I love big shapes, and I thought I would push it," said Roksanda Ilincic. "So I started a dress like a cloud and it just became bigger and bigger." The slightly off-kilter charm of this Serbian-born designer's clothes—cocktail dressing that teeters on the brink of being a bit bonkers—is coming more into its own with every season. She's established such signatures as big bows, unhemmed edges, charmeuse slips, and puffed-up volumes, but this collection pushed her repertoire further.

Inspired, she said, by paintings of the Spanish court, Ilincic padded hips into vaguely eighteenth-century pannier shapes with the tulle understuffing she also uses to perk out an oversize pair of sleeves, froth a peplum, or create unexpectedly huge bustles in back of slim dresses. Taking traditional English brocades from Gainsborough silks (a weaver that makes wall hangings for the Queen's boudoir, no less), she turned the fabric inside out and used the loose gold threads as decoration. The result: a series of rich but cool-looking pieces with a quirky, yet essentially feminine presence.