Narciso Rodriguez is a designer who specializes in subtlety. His minimalist tendencies were made for standing out in a New York fashion week like this one, with its over-the-top color and nonstop prints. Turns out, though, that Rodriguez isn't necessarily feeling clean and spare either. In fact, he positively broke loose for Spring. Backstage, he said his starting point was art, specifically the work of the contemporary Korean artist Kim Joon. A little Google research turned up hundreds of photographs of Joon's body tattoos, and it wasn't a stretch to make the connection between them and the graphic color-blocking and squiggle print in Rodriguez's collection.

It started simply, with a black T-shirt, its shoulders slightly padded, worn with a pair of white trousers with a jagged black waistband. But the patchworking quickly became more intense. Dresses were pieced together like a puzzle from parallelograms of sheer and opaque fabrics, solids and prints. And there was asymmetry everywhere, from the hems of a pair of excellent shirtdresses to the vests that were glorified scarves draped over the models' heads, with only one end tucked in. It wasn't complex for complexity's sake; the results were elegant and crisp.

For evening, he softened things up, using silver and white silk dévoré for slipdresses that he layered over brightly colored bra tops. The finale number, with its swirl of icy blue at the hips, is a contender for dress of the week.