Fashion has been circling around the 1990s for a season or two now. Jason Wu is the latest designer to romance the decade. As if to make his point, Karen Elson, a model who came on the scene in the late nineties, opened the show. The bias-cut dresses that followed gave us visions of Kate Moss back in the day or Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.

Wu called the collection "a dialogue between construction and ease," and the conversation produced one of his most persuasive shows in a while. In recent seasons, the designer has fetishized the notion of a power woman—all shoulder pads, corsets, and blazing attitude. For Spring, he pulled back on the strong tailoring, focusing instead on unstructured safari-style suits in fluid suede or silk crepe featuring flap pockets and snaps. They had a cool slouch, which he edged up with lacing at the lower back, an echo of previous collections.

His slipdresses were streamlined and deceptively simple. Several of them turned to reveal a lace corset underneath as well as racy metal chains below the arms, connecting front to back. Whether it was that cinching or Wu's skills as a draper, they fit like a dream. Perched in the front row, Jessica Paré and Emily Mortimer appeared fairly rapt. On the more casual tip, buttoned-to-the-neck shirtdresses looked great, too.

The show was also a story about light and dark, starting as it did with barely-there beiges and grays, sage green, and blush and concluding with bright flashes of midnight blue (pretty on a ribbed sweater and sequin-embroidered skirt) and black. There was a lot of sparkle here, but Wu used a light touch. All around, it was that sense of quiet effortlessness—of not trying so hard to be sexy—that made this collection seductive.