Thakoon Panichgul landed on a bird motif this season. They flew from one cherry blossom branch to another inside a gilt cage. You could look for a metaphor in that print—something about a designer feeling trapped and itching to break free. But sometimes a print is just a print. The beginning of the show was not only Panichgul's prettiest work to date, it was also his most accomplished. The neckline of the opening dress in duchesse satin followed the curvature of the cage, and on another frock in cotton poplin, a botanical print from the same family was collaged together with swatches of leather and jersey. But that's getting technical about it; the point is how lovely the dresses were. Christina Ricci, who sat front-row, might even be tempted to bust out of her bad girl image to wear one on the red carpet.

In a preview, Panichgul used the words "whimsy," "magical," and "otherworldly." After the bird prints, he moved into featherlight floral knits worn with twinkling, paillette-strewn slipdresses, embroidered organza confections (one of which was intriguingly trimmed in braided leather), and an evening gown in acid-yellow plissé lace with black jacquard caging that called back to the beginning of the show. He didn't quite manage to sustain the magic all the way through to the end, but Panichgul still cast a spell. When he came out for his bow, the crowd gave him one of the most enthusiastic receptions of the week.