Buttoned-Down Behnaz

Behnaz Sarafpour relied on black and white, to her detriment. Photo: Photograph by FirstView

Behnaz Sarafpour has the fashion world pulling for her: She's talented, well trained, and lovely to talk to. And she's a she, which is unfortunately rare in this industry. Her clothes don't stop traffic, but when spotted on the rack at Bergdorf Goodman, they look like what the grooviest girl in the law firm might wear. Which is to say conservative but polished. Her new collection, however, disappointed.

Monochrome need not be dull, but here, it seemed like the default option, rather than a choice. Sarafpour has often made an elegant strength out of primness and constraint, but these clothes, like a bubble-skirted dress with an equally bubble-ish capelet up top, looked uptight. And mini-sequined flapper dresses were impractical and out of sync. There were some lovely pieces: A navy-blue coat with a round neck and covered buttons was charming, for instance. But as a whole, and in spirit, the collection was not fresh enough, not young enough, and it lacked sex appeal.

Sarafpour has had flair before. She'll have flair again, we hope. The industry needs her.

Amy Larocca