Over the years, Steven Alan has found a niche for himself making easy-feeling, preppy clothes. This season, he continued to wander away from that look, though he still hasn't wandered terribly far. Inspired, he said, by early-sixties suburban Americana and the watercolors of Alex Katz, Alan turned out Spring 2012 collections for men and women that showed an increasing emphasis on tailoring, as well as a new sophistication of color and print.

For men, the trend was toward suiting, albeit executed in that casual, Steven Alan way. To wit, a boxy suit in garment-washed cotton khaki, and a slightly rumpled blue microdot shorts suit, both of which were strong, wearable looks that wouldn't seem out of place in the Kennedy-era backyard barbecue Alan appears to have been imagining. That said, they didn't read as overtly retro, either. There were a few nice punches of color, too—witness a non-stupid pair of faded green pants or the contrast lining peeping out from the rolled-up hems of shorts.

The women's collection had a bit more dimension, traversing a range from squared-off T-shirt blouses and Gidget-esque short shorts to a fitted check suit. The heart of the womenswear, though, was its dresses: mid-length housedresses and sundresses in a variety of silhouettes and prints, and mini A-line shifts and structured baby dolls. These numbers had a gamine air; a plaid spaghetti-strap sundress, for instance, tied at the waist, would feel just as at home in the French countryside as it would have in John Cheever's Westchester. And Alan has a knack for cutting potentially frumpy shapes in flattering ways. This season, he also revealed a new investment in accessories, continuing to expand his range of bags—all of which were winners—and producing lots of pairs of no-brainer summer sandals. Like the clothes here, Alan's pretty mid-height wedges didn't have a ton of force, as fashion statements go, but they made up for that in charm and accessibility.