A few seasons back, who would have thought that young designers would eschew the experimental avant-garde in favor of polished sophistication? But now, Olivier Theyskens, the former prince of Goth darkness, is delivering pretty-as-candy collections at Rochas, while New York’s hottest new names, Zac Posen and Proenza Schouler, are twisting bourgeois beauty in youthful directions.

Australian designer Martin Grant has been in their camp for some time. But only last season did he finally widen his scope, staging his first show, opening a bigger shop in Paris, and, in the process, capturing some 15 accounts, including Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York. For the latter, Grant will begin designing the store’s private label collection next fall.

This outing, Grant continued to refine his hand, offering an effortless, highly detailed collection that proved he belongs to the latest talent pool. “It was inspired by my grandmother,” Grant explained. “She always wore shirtdresses.” So satin dresses, tied fetchingly at the waist, began the show, followed by pristine pleated skirts paired with dainty, yet sexy, chiffon blouses.

“The other inspiration was Lee Radziwill,” Grant continued. “She’s become a client and friend. She’s always represented simplicity and pureness for me.” Radziwill, who attended the show, said that she loves Grant’s knack for modern elegance. “He has a great touch,” she said. In her honor, Grant brought out impeccableskirts, coats and jackets, most in black and silver. “What’s great about Martin’s clothes is that they are beautiful and simple, with just enough detail to keep them from becoming just another boring classic,” said Joan Kaner, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, where Grant’s collection made its debut for fall. “The sell-through so far has been fantastic. ”

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