Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra had no esoteric references to pull out of their (plaid-clad) sleeves this season. Gone, too, were the styling gimmicks. For Spring, they said, they were interested in simply exploring "beauty for beauty's sake."

The boys went back to their roots with a marked focus on lovely drapes and lush color—with an added dollop of Earth-friendly fashion technology this time around. For their sunset and lake prints, based on photographs Costello shot digitally in Brooklyn, they worked with a company called AirDye that has developed a way to print fabric without using water. Surface interest was also provided by a number of dresses with contrasting backs that played matte against shine or print against solid. There were also très subtle Swarovski details, a few mumsy elastic belts, and accomplished origami folding. The first exit featured satin-organza embroidery that magically transformed a dress into an orchid, which, in turn, made model Ali Stephens look like a (simply beautiful) walking flower.