If Narciso Rodriguez has one identifying signature it’s his body-limning fit. From Carolyn Bessette’s wedding dress to the charcoal sheath Kate Moss wore in Cannes to any and all of the red carpet numbers he’s designed for the likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Julianna Margulies, Rodriguez’s creations are rigorously engineered to enhance, even when they look quite effortless.

Something was different about his Pre-Fall collection today.

Rodriguez has new twins, and he’s been making clothes for his little girl, the insouciant, away-from-the-body shapes and humble cotton poplins of which, he explained, were influencing his thinking about his collection. They say a baby changes everything. The relaxed, loose shapes were certainly something new for Rodriguez, though they retained an on-brand urbane sensibility paired as they were with tapering, split-seam trousers and spiked heels. His babies were in attendance at the show.

Rodriguez claimed Cristóbal Balenciaga as his other muse. A summertime wedding in the north of Spain included a side trip to the legendary couturier’s museum, and indeed, a subtle Balenciaga influence came through in a peplumed top in black wool twill and a sturdy green cotton tunic, both worn with the season’s leg-elongating split-seam pants.

Though Rodriguez seemed most interested in breezy dresses this season—which makes sense given the June time frame when these clothes arrive in stores—the most interesting development involved his tailoring. It, too, has tended to be defined by its rigor in the past, but here there was an appealing slouch to his jackets, conveyed by an en extended, slightly padded shoulder, a just-so-slightly nipped waist, and an elongated length. Those cool shoulders were the sartorial equivalent of the dresses’ high, floating waists: relaxed and easy.

Narciso rodriguez white dress

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