You don't come here expecting the reinvention of the wheel. You come to see how Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra have tweaked their template.

This season, the Brooklyn boys placed less emphasis on seventies swagger and went for something more soigné. The collection again clearly referenced the past—there was a taste of thirties languor, and the hair could have been taken from an Edwardian china doll—but it wasn't mired in it.

Backstage after the show, the designers talked about the specifics of their rather esoteric inspirations: the "reductive" portraits of the Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck and twenties fashion illustrations by the Viennese artist Ernst Dryden. "We concentrate on subtleties, and build upon our design vocabulary," Costello said. "We're doing something that's personal to us." The elegance of Dryden, to give a nuanced example, could be picked out in a black lace dress tied low on the waist, and in a dove-colored number with a pink decorative swag at the hip. For designers who've made their name working with jersey (so notoriously hard to master), it's all about finesse.