In her show notes, Wang Chen Tsai-Hsia said she found a muse in the shape, material and colors of the inkstone — a mortar used to grind ink in traditional Chinese calligraphy. But instead of inspiring graceful, fluid artistry, the result was a disjointed fall lineup.

The show opened with a folded baby blue miniskirt and jacket with felt inserts, then segued into a series of peony prints applied to everything from Mao-collared tunic dresses to a frisky lingerielike gown in lace and satin.

More interesting were the looks that played with texture, such as an oversize embroidered sweater and jacquard coat featuring black-on-black prints. Their calm, chic vibe was the good news for this lineup.