A giant cruise ship sailed into the slot behind Pier 92's windows today and served as the backdrop for Catherine Malandrino's presentation. It wasn't planned, but it might as well have been, as only an actual yacht in Saint-Tropez would have been a more appropriate setting to debut these Spring wares. This season, Malandrino was inspired by the seaside escape's famed regatta, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, which she'll be attending in September. "It's about performance, but it's also about poetry," she said, referring to both the race and her new lineup.

Literal expressions of an inspiration are rarely a success; that both was and wasn't the case here. An otherwise lovely oversize knit jacquard sweater became silly when covered with a giant rendering of a sailboat at sea (the colors were spot-on, though—cobalt, dusty blue, bright cherry, and white). However, when Malandrino's ships were shrunken down and used as an allover print on a pleated ankle-length silk skirt or a silk maxi dress with leather details, they were youthful and adorable. Same goes for a blue and white "Air France" print (how else would one get to Saint-Tropez?) and a kitschy riff on scrapbook pictures.

Malandrino more subtly translated her nautical theme via her silhouettes and fabrics. She focused less on saucy little dresses (as she did for Resort) and more on sporty separates and maxi looks, whose fluid skirts were made for fluttering in the Mediterranean breeze and felt fresh paired with the designer's new nylon parkas and windbreakers. A mesh-detailed bralette was sultry without being perverse when worn with crisp white neoprene shorts and a floor-length black cardigan. That balance was key for Malandrino. "I think it's nice to show less. It's more about suggesting," she said, noting that she tried to avoid bare legs. Her models' gams were covered by billowing silk harem pants, high-waisted viscose jodhpurs, easy wide-legged trousers, and three-quarter-length A-line skirts; the last of these were great in neoprene but a bit drab in cotton.

Some of the electric pink and aqua jersey looks lacked the luxe factor befitting a Saint-Tropez girl. But from leather eyelet skirts and frocks to embellished blouses and flattering jumpsuits, Malandrino's Spring femme will have plenty to pack for her next trip.