Color. Jenna Lyons and co. were onto it well before it turned into a bona fide Spring runway trend, and now that it is, you can be sure the J.Crew creative team is mixing it in ways more fearless than ever. A tee, button-down, and paper bag-waist shorts combo came in three different shades of hot pink, and an acid yellow gingham shirt was paired with a straw-colored vest and a blush-toned maxi skirt. And don't forget the models' bright coral lipstick—a near identical match to the shade that Lyons and the brand's new head of women's design, Marissa Webb, were wearing at the Milk Studios presentation.

Lyons' own personal style has long influenced what J.Crew's women's collection looks like, so there was more of her signature mixing of day and night, high and low—chambray with lamé jacquard, sequins with cotton fleece, a floor-length dress with a rugged military jacket. The studded cotton sweater worn with chartreuse duchesse satin evening shorts is destined to be an editor favorite, and the peep-toe lace-up heels made in the same Italian factories used by the designer big guns received many nods of approval.

But this wasn't a formulaic outing. The crisp white shorts suit at the beginning of the lineup (Webb herself was wearing the matching vest) was notably devoid of the brooches and boutonnieres that decorated last season's tailoring, and it looked smarter for it. Ditto a rumpled cotton shirt and a pair of cuffed khaki trousers in step with the wider-leg pants seen on the catwalks. Plenty here to keep the brand on its upward trajectory.