Looking sun-kissed and surf-ready, Laura Blokhina—walking the runway in a loose vest, slashed top, and pajama-easy shorts—was the very epitome of the Yigal Azrouël look…which, surprisingly, wasn't otherwise very much on view this season. Azrouël (currently training for a marathon and, apparently, thinking streamlined) was aiming for something more "structured and much less layered than it has been in the past."

He attacked his garments like Edward Scissorhands. With a "scalpel-like" cut, as he put it, he sliced out stark appliqués, binding them over sheer fabrics (for an effect that was occasionally too much like a Léger bandage) and floating them over T-shirts that looked like a punk rocker's DIY project—only in much nicer fabric than you'd find in any Hanes six-pack. (Under the tees were sexy, slivered bandeaus that didn't look like you could make them at home.) Azrouël's use of negative space was most effective, however, on the dresses, like a white jersey gown with back slashes that looked like spinnakers and a short number with "porthole" shoulder peeps to wear for a night on the town.

Among all these jagged geometries, the signature Yigal Azrouël pieces (especially the jackets: a moto topper with studs and zippers, a loose leather-and-cotton parka, a linen blazer) were as welcome a sight as an old friend. If Azrouël's latest creative impetus didn't move the collection forward a full pace, it at least functioned to make the signature pieces sing.