Katie Holmes and Jeanne Yang are starting smart. Their first fashion week presentation, which may or may not have been timed to catch high-interest lightning in a bottle, displayed savvy beyond mere scheduling. Obviously well-advised, the two women are following in the footsteps of Victoria Beckham and the ladies of The Row, fashion’s most successful celebrity crossovers above the mass level. (Jessica Simpson, God love her, is in a class by herself.) Like early Beckham and the Olsens, Holmes and Yang opted for a presentation, a mercifully quiet one with no hysteria of hopeful crashers to wade through on the way in.

The setup allowed them to meet, greet and charm. Yang explained that their goal is to make great pieces that women can wear with other pieces, and just as importantly, that have enough range to suit a woman’s mood of the moment. “Sometimes,” Yang offered, “you wake up and think, ‘I’m a sex kitten today.’” When one guest replied ruefully that she doesn’t ever wake up thinking sex kitten, Holmes jumped in, “Oh, but you’re only one perfect pair of pants away.”

More importantly, the designers could highlight their items-oriented concept without concern for the cohesiveness essential to a formal show. They showed in a circular, tableau vivant-like display featuring 14 models. “We spent a little time getting to know them and finding the right piece that really matched their personality,” said Holmes who, in a sweet gesture just before the door opened, thanked the girls for their role in the event. “You’re all beautiful,” she said.

The display indicated that while classics make up the core of the lineup right now, the designers aspire to more than the perfect white shirt and trouser. They diversified the offerings with prints and embellished details: An off-the-shoulder dress in a yellow flower print worked a Fifties allure; a chevron-pattern cardigan teamed with an embellished jumpsuit had a certain elegance. There was a bit of toughness, in a leather motorcycle jacket over mannish pants, and in a nod to evening, a perforated leather camisole over a long green skirt. A complete collection? Not yet. But the building blocks seem to be in place.

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