Sporty couture is shaping up to be a big trend for Spring, but it's something Roksanda Ilincic began injecting into her cocktail-y fare last season. The way Ilincic does it, however, the reference isn't as literal as we've seen in the past couple weeks. Her main concern, she said backstage, is how to make the old-school craftsmanship and silhouettes that she reveres relevant to a modern woman.

Perhaps a more apt term would be sportswear couture. That means casual chic, exquisitely considered. That high-low merger isn't a new concept, but when done right, it can be the ultimate in luxury. Take a boxy T-shirt cut in peony pink silk gazar tucked into a beautifully gathered paper-bag skirt, all pulled together with a bright rope belt and a groovy beanie knitted from silk faille ribbons.

The sophisticated slouch—emphasis on sophisticated—had newness to it. The designer experimented with fabrics, too. A boyish little suit was cut from navy and white raffia. The nubbly textured fabric pieced with silk on tees and drop-shouldered coats looked like bouclé but turned out to be terry. A navy crinkle cotton isn't something you expect here, either, but looked pretty fab in a knotted-waist dress and sweatpants.

Ilincic's method of reinvigorating her lantern-sleeved and pannier-ruffled dresses with not-quite-neon color was less than inventive. Still, her color sense is sharp, so within the context of the collection, it formed a cohesive whole.

So, too, did the woman and her work. Backstage, Ilincic wore a spongy soft heather gray Whistles T-shirt tucked into a floor-sweeping silk skirt from her own collection. She's a designer who lives the dream, and more importantly, the reality.