The first thing you noticed about Cynthia Rowley's Spring presentation was the streamers. There were mounds of them in different colors and textures piled upon the chandeliers, layered in a makeshift fashion that screamed "DIY project." The showing took place in a former seminary that is now the Desmond Tutu Center, so the decor was a cheery contrast to the gothic surroundings. "I wanted it to look like my girls came and decorated it themselves," explained Rowley right after welcoming her friend actor Alan Cumming. (Rowley's got a lot of friends, and every single one of them seemed to be there.) "It's a celebration," she said.

The collection, too, was a celebration of sorts, trumpeting the designer's sporty-meets-artsy roots. A single lipstick-red tulip appliqué was placed on the hip of a white silk-cotton ball gown with a halter neckline, and wetsuits were printed with digital floral motifs. A vignette of skirts and tops in black, white, and blush pink were embroidered with Swedish-looking designs, adding to the arts-and-crafts feel of the clothes.

There may have been too many looks—a navy silk-cotton bateau-neck cocktail dress was more appropriate for fall, and a pale pink frock with a massive bow at the neckline was just out of place. But overall, it was one of the stronger collections Rowley has presented in the past few years. She should show her roots more.