Aside from a bit of front-row intrigue—news of company president Mario Grauso's departure from Carolina Herrera was in this morning's paper, and there he was sitting with his wife, Anne—the mood was positively decorous at today's show. But isn't it always? Herrera's program notes explained that the collection's starting point was the intricate forms woven in Japanese baskets. A rarefied inspiration, to be sure, and one that meant there was plenty of surface interest to take in on the clothes, from an intriguing vest-jacket woven in gray linen jacquard to a strapless white dress embroidered with tiny wooden tiles.

Counterbalancing the clearly luxe materials was a surprising push into silhouettes that were, if not quite downtown, then certainly younger looking: Thigh-baring shorts accompanied jackets for a new (to Herrera, at least) take on the summer suit. Fresh evening separates, like an ivory satin toile long-sleeve blouse and matching long skirt shared the runway with gowns and column dresses. And, yes, there was even a jumpsuit—it was belted and strapless, with cropped full legs, and came in a deep brick-red gazar.

But for all of the laudable experimentation with new shapes, there was a clunkiness to some of Herrera's other, more familiar looks. The rope-weave jacquard of a tea-length dress sagged in the bodice and added volume to the hips, and a rose chiffon gown with a bugle-beaded top didn't have the signature polish of the collection's winner, a bronze one-shoulder gown with parallel lines of gold embroidery tracing the outline of its model's body. That number walked the line between youth and sophistication.