After three seasons showing in New York, Madrid-based Joaquín Trias decided to try presenting in Paris. "I love New York," he explained. "But we're European and we want to be recognized as a European brand."

Trias is still working out what he's all about, but he does know that his ideal client is innately elegant and that she loves the understated yet interesting. Like so many designers who aim for that intersection, he's obsessed with architecture. In less experienced hands, that kind of source material can easily turn clunky; his work has been to smooth those edges.

For Spring, he got closer to that goal, taking his cues from Tadao Ando's overlapping forms. But instead of his typically stiff fabrics, he opted for those with a little give, like a cornflower blue silk-cotton organza, and for the first time, a buttery thin Spanish leather. The Ando reference gave you coat lapels designed to close by resting atop one another, and dresses with fluid capelike layers. The idea worked particularly nicely in the first look, a crisp white tulip-skirted cotton dress with overlapping flaps like wings on its open back and an asymmetrical collar. The designer himself made sure each model turned at quarter angles to allow for every side to be viewed. "Every view is really important," Trias said. "It's different from the front, back, and sides."