A whimsical, slightly brooding attitude set the tone for the start of fashion week, as designers sent out easy looks in dark and neutral shades.

Ports 1961: A pragmatic shopper might think she really only needs a few cashmere staples: a sweater, a wrap, a coat, a couple of scarfs. But Tia Cibani, creative director of Ports 1961, is out to change that idea, and she made a good argument with her fall collection. How about a sweats-style skirt in heather gray, a chunky strapless frock in winter white or an oversized loose nude dress with a subtly bubbled hem? Add to these a parade of louche tapered pants in calming neutrals and those charming cropped sweaters and jackets, and voilà, you're officially cuckoo for cashmere. But fashion isn't just about a cozy, chic knit, and Cibani did branch out with tweed jackets and skirts and a handful of satin dresses — the prettiest being a velvet-trimmed sage floral topped with a darling nubby gray coat. Yet she went ever slightly too far, adding tricky details like tulle bustles under cardigans and coats and knit cummerbunds to looks that would have been lovely as is.

Réyes: José Ramón Reyes has taken his preppy prototype from spring and given her some major chic for fall. This time, he snuck into Margot Tenenbaum's closet and emerged with 40 covetable looks that perfectly tapped into her wasted-luxe look, an effortless mix of sophistication and "I don't care" élan. But rather than present a literal interpretation of the subversive mink- and tennis dress-wearing Margot, he reenvisioned her as a girl who has a regular day job and a busy social schedule. He offered a slew of sweet silk blouses with tuxedo-style pleated details paired with either skin-tight piped pants and pencil skirts or loose pleated men's wear-style trousers. The palette was dark and moody in gray, black and deep purple with a few cream stripes — a prep motif he carried through on knit sweaters and vests. But lest things got too serious, outerwear was a witty take on the Members Only jacket from the Eighties, done here as tan nylon puffers with fox-trimmed hoods and seersucker linings. Reyes also successfully segued into formal eveningwear with understated, fluid silk gowns. It was a great effort from a young talent who deserves a spot on the retail radar.

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