Gilles Mendel's latest show kicked off today with a bang. Inspired by Dorothy Draper, the original queen of American interior design, Mendel concocted a range of savvy, fresh-looking dresses featuring vertical stripes in bold color combinations. The dresses had a cool geometry to them, courtesy of both the stripes and Mendel's clean silhouettes and sharp pleating. They were winners.

The show lost some steam after that. The sportswear—mainly slouchy trousers and crisp silk shirting—was well-executed, but failed to make much of an impression. And Mendel's gowns and cocktail dresses this season were nicely done, sexy things slit all over, but they didn't exert any real pull beyond that. (Nevertheless, Hollywood starlets will be fighting over them for red-carpet appearances.) The collection perked up again with the appearance of a couple of short looks in an abstract brushstroke print that had been crusted all over with sequins; taut and asymmetrically hemmed, they were atypically edgy for Mendel. Overall, this was a slick show, likably frou-free and full of solid, accessible dresses that will be snapped up by Mendel's VIP clientele.