It's telling that Alexandre Herchcovitch's shows are blessedly free of the publicity-seeking D-list swarm and the accompanying camera-wielding circus. Instead, sneaking in just before the lights went down was a cooler sort of customer: It-model Agyness Deyn, who joined the MisShapes' Geordon Nicol and Leigh Lezark, the latter looking chic in the Brazilian designer's eyelet Tyvek dress from last Fall. Herchcovitch is one of the few remaining independent young talents in New York who still explores the sort of ideas that whet the arty appetites of the downtown set while maintaining a strong enough business to get his clothes onto boutique racks.

In a curiously dark (though stylish) turn for Spring, Herchcovitch trained his scissors on the tuxedo, carefully dismantling it and stripping it for parts. "I want to transform the classic men's wardrobe, but in a very feminine way, forgetting about the clichés," said the designer backstage. It's a challenging agenda to set, considering that the masculine/feminine theme is well-trodden ground. But Herchcovitch managed an original take, splicing classic formalwear elements with punk details and flashes of crimson and chartreuse for added edge. It was best seen in tailored looks, such as a sleeveless waistcoat over a rolled-sleeve T-shirt and pegged pants, or a slouchy washed-silk tuxedo dress. These were miles ahead of the frothy, cummerbunded cocktail frocks that closed the show. They rounded out Herchcovitch's concept but probably won't make it into the closets of Lezark and company.