While Spring 2014 marked Holmes & Yang's third season presenting at New York fashion week, the brand—designed by actress Katie Holmes and her stylist, Jeanne Yang—has been in business since 2009. The duo aren't exactly seasoned pros quite yet, but their accumulated experience, they said, has allowed them to become more comfortable in their roles. "We're getting to know our customer better every day," offered Yang during the label's presentation at a Chelsea gallery. "And our customer is hopefully feeling alive this season," Holmes added. The designers stressed that their Spring focus was elevated wearability—a concept at the heart of many multitasking women's wardrobes (such women being the core Holmes & Yang client, according to Yang). However, real girls on the go may have trouble finding what they're looking for in the pair's Spring range.

Inspired in part by adventure (Holmes and Yang looked to Africa, as well as vintage outdoorsy menswear), the collection's practical frocks, shorts suits, and separates came in a palette of tan, burnt orange, black, navy, and a somewhat dowdy olive green. That last hue was employed on a suede-trimmed crepe shirtdress that had a lot of potential but, with its lace-up neck detail, appeared more suited to Peter Pan than a trailblazing woman. A skimpy bra top didn't really make sense underneath its I-mean-business navy suit, and a long silk button-front skirt looked like a perplexing afterthought when worn over an otherwise sweet black and navy spotted jumpsuit.

There were some standouts here: A gathered dress in printed chiffon with leather detailing could be worn in the office or out during evening escapades, and a black and cream silk tweed sundress with a sweetheart neckline embraced a prim but youthful breed of femininity. Jewelry, designed by Holmes' on-set hairstylist, included giant gilded hoop earrings embellished with bear heads and birds of prey. These could have had some serious appeal if they were presented with more of a wink, but they seemed a bit out of place next to the collection's sober looks.

Speaking of film sets, there's that elephant in the room: Holmes' celebrity factor, which is, of course, a double-edged sword when it comes to fashion cred. If Holmes and Yang hope to join the ranks of celeb success stories (enter The Row and Victoria Beckham), they're going to need to up the sartorial ante next season.