As part of the original Trovata quartet, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos always knew how to spin a yarn. They've mercifully turned their back on all that slightly forced whimsy, opting, for their second collection as a duo, for a subtler backstory with a hint of Hitchcock (the Dali-inspired set -checkerboard floor and surreal doors to nowhere- smacked of a Hitchcockian dream sequence). Halmos talked about a conservative guy with an undercurrent of not-so-conservative sexuality (he felt a shadow-plaid suit worn with a rugby shirt exemplified the concept). That's the same guy Alfred loved to turn into the hero, and he's also quite in keeping with the buttoned-down-with-an-edge mood of New York fashion right now. Unsurprising, given that Halmos and Shipley just upped their California sticks for Manhattan. Hence the urban feel of the trim silhouette and the monochrome palette. The earth is never going to move for such clothes, but there was a strong sense in the men’s outfits they showed that Shipley & Halmos had edited down their ideas to essentials. There are a lot of cardigans around at the moment, but the one they showed -in gray cashmere- could be The Cardigan. And kudos to a soundtrack that ranged freely from Led Zep's "Communication Breakdown" to Bowie's "Queen Bitch" to the Yardbirds’ "Train kept a-rollin'." All of them proto-punk, according to Halmos. That's an intelligent man speaking.