French transplant Sophie Théallet insisted that she wasn't making a political statement with the all-black model casting of her debut show. "I was thinking about colors, and they look amazing on dark skin, so it came naturally," she said. Wearability seems to come naturally to Théallet, too, and it was the nonchalance of the clothes that impressed the most.

It's well-known that Théallet worked with Azzedine Alaïa for a decade before establishing Motu Tane, a resort line, with François Nars. But it was the influence of the makeup king (and not the king of body con) that was most notable in this extremely summery collection, which featured djellaba shapes, head scarves, crisp cottons circled with bright ribbon stripes, and tropical flowers appliquéd with satin. Anyone looking for shades of Alaïa could find them in the intricately constructed finale dress, but that was really beside the point. Théallet isn't proposing herself as an Alaïa disciple, and she's not interested in making "a big fashion statement," she said. Her fascination is with the mystery of femininity—something French women seem to have a special key to understanding—and a delight in color.

At least one audience member was captivated. Lou Doillon's take on her compatriot's New York debut? "It was beautiful and strangely erotic," the alluring French actress said (and she ought to know).