To say that Alexandre Herchcovitch sent out a surprisingly ladylike collection today would be the understatement of the season. His nipped-waist embroidered dresses, bow-bedecked pencil skirts, and natty tops in lamé jacquard were so over-the-top soigné, it had to be some kind of provocation. Surely, there had to be something weird at work to inspire these clothes.

Of course, there was. As Herchcovitch explained after the show, the genesis of this collection was his discovery of a trove of fifties-era fabrics at a shop going out of business in his native Brazil. He bought the lot, and used several of the vintage fabrics in the show. But he also developed photo-realist prints for his collection based on those fabrics, re-creating everything from their stitching to their stains. Even from the front row, it was hard to see the difference between the old and the new, especially given that Herchcovitch turned out both materials in looks that were almost identically patterned, and identically embellished.

Sometimes there was a bit too much embellishment going on; a few of the pieces utilizing vintage fabrics were so covered in frippery, they came off camp. That may have been Herchcovitch's intention. But other pieces, like color-blocked red and pale yellow pencil dresses in cotton duchesse satin, had a timeless simplicity. And still others exuded the designer's trademark: A red-beaded dress with head scarf attached like a hood turned out to be made not from crinkled chiffon, but exceptionally fine anorak nylon. Meanwhile, the sportiness was self-evident in Herchcovitch's half-head, embroidered baseball hats, which he is producing in a special edition with the cap-maker New Era. The other accessories worthy of note were the sunglasses—round-frame specs that represent Herchcovitch's third collaboration with Mykita.