Katie Eary is no shrinking violet. Nor does she design for the faint of heart: Since launching her menswear line in 2009, she's clad her boys in everything from motocross jackets the color of radioactive goo to monster fur jackets and crocodile top hats fit for a circus ringleader in icy, icy hell. Eary has made it her practice to send a few women's looks out at her men's shows, and her clothes have been worn by the likes of Rihanna and Lady Gaga, so it's not surprising that she's decided to launch a womenswear range. The surprise is that her first collection is so (relatively) tame.

The operative word, of course, is that parenthetical "relative." Eary's baroque, blown-out tigerfish prints, repeated from the men's collection, weren't exactly sedate. Her swimwear was barely-there and her skirts were micro-short, and what with her emphasis on gold and ultra-luxe materials overall, the general impression was flash. There's a niche for that, and Eary will make a packet if she aims to fill it. But this season, at least, she lost her nerve when it came to her silhouettes. Eary herself admitted that she was being tentative; when she presented the womenswear by appointment, she described her process as "figuring out her girl." That's fair enough, and Eary will find plenty of fans for her refined motorcycle jackets, executed in top-of-the-line ponyhair. She also has a real knack for making swimwear that's insanely sexy yet somehow not crass. But she should heed the fact that womenswear has a higher bar for shock than menswear does, and you don't cross it by applying eye-searing prints to Balenciaga-inspired bonded sweatshirts and sculpted shorts. The fashion scene doesn't need another young designer worshipping at the altar of Ghesquière. But it could use a next Cavalli.