Blame the heat, blame how dang early New York fashion week began, blame the lackluster collections, but the crowd was a little deflated before the start of last night’s Suno show. Then out came the first look, a boxy jacquard jacket with neon-bright stripes and hospital scrub-blue cropped pants, and people perked right up. Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis specialize in a kind of offbeat practicality. It’s a rarefied niche, but a growing one. Backstage, Beatty reported that the last two years have been positive for the brand. “It’s a slow burn, but we’ll take it,” she said. And it doesn’t hurt when Lupita Nyong’o wears your custom-made design to the CFDA Awards.

This collection followed the Suno rules—everyday clothes for artsy, intellectual types—but it felt particularly energized. Chalk that up to the designers’ great color sense, showcased on the multi-striped jacquard and the knits that followed, and to their confident way with prints. A sleeveless dress with violet flowers above the waist and a print of black and white cubes on its handkerchief hem will be a hit. It looked special without being the least bit precious. Elsewhere, a navy knit tank dress covered in a grid of white dots encapsulated Beatty’s message about “never feeling too done, but never looking undone either.” Talk about a mood lifter.

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