When John Crocco said his new collection for Perry Ellis was democratic preppy, he meant it politically, as in preppy without the privilege. Too bad that such a bold statement didn’t translate into energy on the catwalk. Crocco talked about making color a key component of the collection as an antidote to neutrality, but the fact that he opted for ice-creamy / baby shades kind of undercut his intention (and calling the dominant tone “boy blue” didn’t make it more interesting). Still, the designer’s knack for detail made something he called a “vacation shirt” look good. And drawstring cargo pants in natural linen also cried out for a holiday. Crocco may have a dry wit -at least, I think that explained the pink polka dots he embroidered all over a tan blouson and a pair of shorts. Elsewhere, he opted for the boxy suit that is already asserting itself as the shape of the season in New York (if you need a cultural touchstone, it has to be "Mad Men"). Crocco’s was crinkled. But if times are really so tough, he has nothing to lose by pushing the boat out a little more. Sober clothes, yo but possibly too much and almost tedious. In order not to have the audience fall alsleep, he had the good idea to hire the crème de la crème of male models as you can see. Maybe he’ll be more direct with his next collection.