The past few seasons found Yigal Azrouël in an exploratory mood: The designer seemed to have grown restless with his signatures, and he was seeking out new aesthetics, new approaches, and new attitudes that he could absorb into his brand's vocabulary. That effort was always worth applauding, even if the results varied in success. This time out, Azrouël returned to terra firma. The emphasis here was on polished, body-conscious clothes with a streetwise tone—very much the designer's comfort zone. But what made this outing work so well was the way Azrouël applied all he'd learned from his explorations. To wit, the architectural construction of a white, zip-detailed jumpsuit, or the measured sexiness of the cutout sheaths, or the slightly off proportions of a short-sleeve blazer.

Azrouël has also picked up a willingness to brave ugliness and ungainliness that he never had before—that was made very clear by his weird but winning black and white print, which looked a bit like magnetic filaments clumping together. That print scored. But the standouts in this collection, and the stuff that will sell like hotcakes, were the pieces done in coated cotton eyelet. A pencil dress in patchwork gray, white, and black eyelet was very, very Yigal Azrouël. And it was very, very good.