Tawfik Mounayer is obsessed with Tina Chow, so for Spring he viewed his sophisticated client through a preppy, Japanese filter. There were flashes of kimono in the obi-style belt on a textured faille and corded organza tunic top and in the simple hidden, single-snap closures on a wrap dress and unstructured "dojo" blazer. One of the prints, geometric white checks on black, was taken from men's kimonos. Understated and fresh, it contributed to the general rock-garden tranquillity of the clothes.

But there were some interruptions in the Zen. A swirly sand-art print in bright pastels on a cropped jacket and matching pair of wide-leg pants was pretty wild. Mounayer said he had nonagenarian Iris Apfel in mind when he designed it, and frankly, we're not sure who else could pull it off. The same colors in a block print on a textured faille wrap dress in white were very sweet—way too staid for Iris, but much more manageable for the rest of us. Mounayer's attention to interesting, rich fabrications and meaningful details—like the bra-keeps in every dress—are what makes these clothes special. That, and his genuine interest in what women really wear; more than once he stressed that he designs clothes women will actually pull out of their closets. "It's about girls getting up and getting dressed," he said. For the most part, these were just the heavy-rotation pieces he envisioned.