Gary Graham is a font of esoteric knowledge. He designs for women who appreciate his cerebral reference points, or maybe just have a taste for romantic clothes with antique appeal. "She's creative and is the kind of girl who arrives to the party after everyone else leaves," Graham said of his customer at an appointment in his Tribeca store. His new collection was inspired by Jean Genet's novel Our Lady of the Flowers and evokes the moodiness of the book's Montmartre cemetery setting, though in a delicate, spring-appropriate way. Graham explained, "I like the idea of taking heavy textiles and making them light." So he turned rich French tapestries and jacquards into digital prints on wispy silk and organza, then whipped them up into convertible tie-back dresses and on-trend board shorts. Graham is a sucker for layering and often piled these drape-y pieces with chiffon sweaters and long gabardine jackets that were, as he put it, "almost clergylike."

Graham's is a specific—and often eccentric—vision, but one that is increasingly in demand, it appears. Last season, he launched a new, lower-priced line named Anagram to reach a wider audience.