Welcome to Chapter Two in what Hilfiger has called a "rebirth": his return to the runway with a more polished take on traditional American sportswear. "It's a continuous evolution," Hilfiger said backstage. "Everything we put into motion last season is starting to bear fruit." Customers are embracing the more sophisticated merch, he added, and a new store is to open later this month on the red-hot retail stretch of Bleecker Street.

No surprise, Spring was about classic, alliterative Tommy-isms: "carefree confidence" and "effortless elegance." This meant some very familiar staples, including the trench, the brass-buttoned blazer, the shirtdress—the mood was F. Scott Fitzgerald, with a pinch of Lauren Hutton tossed in. A double-breasted navy jacket in coarse gabardine was worn over a pair of striped silk pajamas (kicking off a bonanza of stripes, both candy-colored and nautical). Silk blouses went with sailor pants, wide trousers, or cuffed shorts. And then came a few dress variations: fine knit intarsia shifts, a trench-detailed sheath, a flirty pink-and-white halter. Laced spectator sandals and straw hats underlined the Gatsby feel. Looking newer was a sharp-shouldered striped blazer that brought some Keith Richards edge to a white jersey dress. A few more items like that are needed next time to keep this evolution moving forward.