Alexandre Herchcovitch is ready to play ball. The football-themed collection that he showed today in Bryant Park was first presented back in June in his native São Paulo, Brazil. (That's months before another designer, Alexander Wang, scored with his own take on the macho pastime—but really, the only similarity between the two collections was the designers' choice of sport.)

Brazilians are into futebol, not football, generally, and Herchcovitch's take on the latter game was that of an outsider. "Uniforms are important in this sport," he said. "They transform the shape of a man, and this amazed me." Herchcovitch played shape-shifter, too, closing his show with theatrical caged numbers that referenced both the grille on football helmets and nineteenth-century cage skirt hoops. These looks were, of course, just for show (and one couldn't help but think they poked lighthearted fun at the exaggerated eighties shoulder, too). But what preceded these showpieces was one of the tightest and most accessible collections of Herchcovitch's career.

True, the football-shaped appliqués and clutch bags might have been taking things too far, but the tight and sporty pieced pants were some of the best we've seen all week (and we've seen lots). Some were paired with graphic rubber tanks, others with nylon toppers in bright colors. A sequined check fabric added a bit of sparkle. But perhaps Herchcovitch's cleverest feint was to sew puffy, lace-trimmed dresses out of satin printed to look like a quarterback's old gray sweatshirt. Touchdown!