"You don't have to wear big shoulder pads and dark suits to be a powerful woman," said Tadashi Shoji before showing his Spring lineup, entitled Sweet Liberation. To illustrate the notion, Shoji delivered a collection of delicate dresses and separates made of lace and organza in frosted—but not exactly pastel—candy colors. Shoji has a way with proportion, and it gave his classically styled clothes a much needed modernity. An ivory lace tee—paired with black tap shorts—benefited from a swingy back. A plaid silk organza tea dress got a hip upgrade layered under a crop top. And a simple nude neoprene number with lace overlay looked more structured because of strong seaming and a neat little peplum. The designer is best known for his eveningwear, and while he incorporated plenty of hand-beading into those looks, the collection was still very much about the colors. Shoji's generous use of overlays meant the shades weren't too saturated, or too wimpy either. (The blush pink styles in particular were kicked up a notch by the use of black embroidered tulle.) If there was a misstep, it was the use of feather fringe underneath a crop top. Liberated or not, no one wants to look stuffed.