Madras. Tennis dresses. Sailor stripes and kelly green. The Official Preppy Handbook
might seem like odd reference material for Tess Giberson
, but that very unexpectedness may have been the point, as the designer took on the aesthetic codes and conventions of our nation's WASP elite this season. Giberson's collection had a lot of snap: For the most part, she didn't seem to be overthinking her clothes, and you didn't need to know the conceptual background of, say, a mint silk trouser jumpsuit to comprehend the garment's appeal. Ditto the clever cape-shaped trenchcoats and Giberson's insouciantly sexy slipdresses and organza button-downs. As usual, the designer also did well with her knits, in particular those that featured a kind of knit-in, oversize perforation, and finer versions in an abstracted check pattern. A few garments did come off a little mannered, like the dresses and skirts with arcing hems. But as a whole this was a strong outing for Giberson, one marked by her ample intelligence, but not showing it off.