"Im a ready-to-wear designer, too," said Brandon Sun at his Lincoln Center presentation. Sun, who ran the fur programs at J. Mendel and Oscar de la Renta before launching his own line in 2011, wanted to show off his other talents this season, so he only used the soft stuff sparingly in his collection.

Instead, he focused on color and shape, with feudal Japan's female samurais, called onna-bugeisha, as muse. The reference was subtle, but it was visible in the Japanese robe silhouettes. For instance, a collarless silk blush pink vest was worn over a straight, below-the-calf dress in the same color, with poppy-colored insets and white piping adding a sporty element.

The geometric print was based on Katsura, the mazelike imperial villa in the city of Kyoto. It was best represented on a gray knee-length skirt paired with a sheer striped shell and a long, collarless white vest, which was also printed with the puzzle pattern. And while Sun didn't want to dwell on fur, the little that he did show was notable, particularly when it was dyed hot orange and applied in an intarsia print to a cream split-front pencil skirt.

Sun's work is good-looking, and he obviously possesses the skill and intellectual curiosity to create interesting clothes. But he's not quite there yet. The collection, despite its careful execution, lacked the energy that the most exciting new designers possess. Things might be a little more compelling if Sun let himself make a couple of not-so-safe moves. He definitely has it in him.