Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez set the scene for their Spring show by laying down an orange shag carpet and installing retro light fixtures high over the runway. To this reporter, it felt like a suburban rec room straight out of the seventies, but we were only part of the way there. Backstage, Hernandez said the duo's starting point was Googie architecture. Googie what? "Mid-century road-stop architecture," he said. "It was once cutting-edge, but now it's decrepit. Lost optimism."

There are a lot of layers to peel back there, not least of which is how efficiently Hernandez's words nailed the current Zeitgeist. In the early going, the designers riffed on the forties. There were buttoned-up-to-the-neck shorts suits perched on wooden platform shoes, and button-down shirts cropped above flaring, high-waisted shorts or an A-line skirt. The colors were drab browns and blacks for the most part, with some white and shots of Formica yellow. If the results skewed a bit too nostalgic to this point, McCollough and Hernandez would have plenty more to say in this collection.

Not unlike last season, the designers explored craft, weaving raffia into backless black dresses or sweaters and skirts with graphic, geometric designs. They used eel skin to create a striped dress. About halfway through, something really clicked. Make that two things, both of which we've seen plenty of this week, though rarely handled in as interesting, moodily sophisticated a way: color and print. Sulfur yellow met sky blue and black on an aerodynamic dress, and curvaceous trompe l'oeil frocks combined Hawaiian florals with microdots. The eel skin returned, this time cut into glossy knee-length skirts and paired with tulle T-shirts stitched with swirling flowers. For the finale, McCollough and Hernandez cut that embroidered tulle into a very of-the-current-moment long-sleeved, belted sheath. Optimism found.