Bummed out by daily bulletins on the foundering economy—"I need to stop listening to NPR every morning!" she said—Nanette Lepore sought solace in the homespun. Her inspiration was the work apron, and elements of that seamstress' wardrobe staple could be picked out all over the runway: Dresses tied closed with unfussy bows, and pockets were ample enough for PDAs all and sundry.

At times, the overlarge pockets and utilitarian buckles and clasps were a distraction, but a sequined mini worn with a tucked-in white work shirt brought the concept back into focus. An amplified rose print (especially sweet on swimwear) helped lift the mood, as did a live performance of original songs by the soulful crooner John Forté. Cutouts on a white eyelet blouse echoed the rose leitmotif.

The show may not have been the week's very most compelling reason to rush out to shop, but—peppered with shades of plummy pink and tangerine—it was a good antidote to the recession blues.