They might be fashion's favorite cuddly, flannel-wearing bears, but this Spring Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra showed some claw. Their tough-on-the-surface collection surprisingly didn't include one inch of jersey, the drapey material on which they have built their reputation. "We never meant for jersey to be our full brand identity," Tagliapietra protested. So what is at the brand's core, then? Feminine clothes, they said, that are "body conscious—not in an Alaïa way, but one which caresses the body."

The best pieces were made of washed silk charmeuse or georgette in exciting brights and color combinations the two haven't used before. (The ultrasuede pieces, particularly an ill-conceived and ill-fitting long skirt, were less convincing.) As they tweak their label's image, Costello and Tagliapietra said, they wanted to bring more of their own personas into the mix. They pulled this off with humor and much (nonflannel) plaid, which they whipped into sexy dresses, and by sending each of the models out with an initialed anchor tattoo inspired by the partners' own.

By contrast, their other stated inspirations—the seamy side of the seventies, sex clubs, Scorpio Rising, The Night Porter—seemed to be superimposed on the collection via heavy-handed styling: the leather cap, the suspenders, the Vaselined faces. OK, we get it. Harmless role-play? Sure, but it distracted attention from the clothes, which deserved the lion's (or in this case bear's) share of it.