Chic modernity is what Narciso Rodriguez's work is all about. Thespring collection he showed on Tuesday night continued his recent stringof exquisite expressions of that ethos. This time, he outdid himselfwith a stunner that highlighted his masterful plays on fabric and cut.

“I was thinking about very rich textures and many new ways of treatingmaterials,” Rodriguez said backstage before the show, which powerfullyevolved from resort'sgorgeous laser-cut and chiffon-bonded lace. “Itook the idea forward, but into different places, like bonded andlaminated materials used on the reverse.”

Complex as the ideasmay sound, the designer delivered them with thoughtfulness. For example,a precisely tailored white wool-and-silk jacket featured a coollaminated black inset and was paired black laminated wool shorts. Thelines were architectural, but the effect had none of the severeconnotations that can come with such graphic precision.

Rodriguez's materials play added a new sense of richness to his work. Ashimmery copper jacquard for a sexy shift read like a deep brocade butnever looked ostentatious. Instead, its soft, almost muted qualityexuded an alluring serenity. The same could be said for the pretty silkchiffon dress with laser-cut chiffon, charmeuse and silver laminateflorals bonded to it, with enough transparency to reveal the bold bratop and briefs underneath. The look was at once sweet and sexy, strikingfor its apparent simplicity yet was really anything but.

Throughout, Rodriguez proved that he still has a lot to say aboutstructure and minimalism, and even his busier looks — a top embroideredwith dangling beaded strings, for one — demonstrated calm and grace. Atthe end of the show, the usually reserved designer stepped out andwalked down the runway further than he typically does, and withnoticeable swagger. The confidence spoke volumes.

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