The award-winning Thakoon Panichgul, who showed his first collection just three years ago, doesn't need lessons in polish. And his popularity has been proven: Amanda Peet, for one, kicked off fashion week in one of his rose-splashed dresses.

But there's still room to grow. "More than any other collection, this one is about mood," Panichgul said. "I've never worked in that manner. I'm searching for new ways to be inspired. I want to evolve and give myself opportunities to learn."

His homework this season was, apparently, research into the art of functionality, and American Sportswear 101. The show opened with the classics—button-downs, shirtdresses, blazers—and graduated to more complicated convertible dresses.

As he did for Fall 2006, Panichgul played with perception. Instead of trompe l'oeil buttons, this time he showed sweaters with sleeve ties, which gave the illusion of a second sweater wrapped around the neck, and pixilated prints. It was a much more challenging collection than the one that preceded it—for both the designer and the viewer—and the fashion world is watching with interest as he climbs that learning curve.