This season, London catwalks have turned into a giant English garden—petals, buds, and green grass everywhere. Was this fashion week or the Chelsea Flower Show? There was so much in bloom that Maria Grachvogel's Spring collection, with its sedate palette and spartan embellishments, came as something of a relief. The only note of botany was opening model Chloe Nørgaard's bright green hair. That detail, Grachvogel said, was too good to resist.

The bulk of the collection was more muted. There were trapeze-shaped, gossamer-light dresses and sensible daywear, like the kimono-sleeve trouser suit in Egyptian ramie cotton. The prints, for which Grachvogel is known, were more serene, too: hand-painted plays on inkblots. "I really love the idea of dropping ink and letting it free-flow in water and seeing what emerges; it is always totally unexpected," she said. There was a touch of a garden, but more like a haunting Japanese bamboo landscape than an English one. It was enough to stir longtime fan Emma Thompson, who clapped along enthusiastically from the front row.

It also looks like Grachvogel has been working as hard on silhouette as on print. The result of her explorations included a soundly engineered dress with a cross-panel neck detail. Similarly, a meticulously tailored jumpsuit showed the time she has spent on the drawing board. Her collection is the better for it.