PARIS — With a schedule so jam-packed that it left many panting for air, it was difficult for smaller houses and young designers to get attention this season. But nevertheless, a handful managed to stick out from the crowd. And those who did refined their looks, adding more polish and sophistication, fashion’s strongest direction for spring.

Of course, they did it on their own terms, blending the experimental with the commercial. Consider AF Vandevorst, the Belgian husband-wife team of Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst, who presented paper cutout dresses alongside fetching trench coats with slouchy sleeves and oversized shirt dresses. The latter, of course, were highly wearable, as was a green dress with a built-in cape. It all proves that the designers are maturing in the right direction.

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