The early evening sun poured in through open doors at Maria Cornejo's Pier 57 show. It was dazzling. Today marked the first time Cornejo didn't present at Milk Studios in a while, and it felt like she made a breakthrough of sorts with her collection, too. Backstage she said, "I wanted to make it feel luxe in my own way." Her approach was to start with materials. Both the scuba fabric and the macramé tape were new for Cornejo, but she's a quick study. The corset top and tube skirt in the former were as sexy as anything she's ever done—an instant hit. The macramé bandeau, shrug, and skirt, meanwhile, added both an element of craft and a luxury factor to the proceedings.

There was other news in an abstract graffiti-inspired print and in stretchy leather separates in dust blue. But Cornejo's not a designer who shies away from revisiting old favorites. A jumpsuit from her Fall collection got an update in a graphic woodblock print, and the leather bolero cropped high underneath the arms was not unlike the broken-in one Maria herself was wearing. When something works, it works. For several seasons now, Cornejo has been manipulating her own iPhone pictures for prints; this season she turned a photo of crop circles snapped from the window of a plane into a jacquard that she used for a pantsuit and matching tote bag. It was unapologetically bold. In contrast, there were an unembellished white suit and a pair of airy white dresses in what the program notes called "Italian crafted web embroidery." They were gorgeous, and when Cornejo came out for her bow hand in hand with the models who wore them, Mark Ruffalo and his wife jumped up to give her a cheer. Not a bad seal of approval.