With Georgia O'Keeffe on her mind this time around, designer Nicholas Kunz, along with her brother Christopher Kunz, painted a promising picture of their label's evolution. While keeping her line's cool utilitarian signatures -a desert palette, outerwear focus, draped knits and jerseys, heavy layering- on display, she pushed her clothes in a more geometric direction, and went some distance toward elevating the tone of the 9-year-old brand. The inspiration for this season was the Taos artists of the '20s and '30s, and it proved to be a smart one. It related easily to Nicholas K's desert fixation, and it hewed the collection, slightly, to the larger Depression-era narrative shaping up for Fall. The NYC-based designer has sometimes found it a challenge to integrate current trends, but the Taos theme allowed her to add to her brand's vocabulary, pulling in both Western and Déco references. The collection made its own move into formal territory, notably with the inclusion of soft oatmeal-colored suiting pieces. Nicholas Kunz also nicely worked the cowboy theme with her application of horsehair to jackets and parkas. A last word about parkas : at a time when many fashion houses have gone parka-crazy, it bears mentioning that Nicholas K has been turning out excellent versions of the hooded jacket for a while now, and there were more expert examples on the runway. Together with the razored leather jackets, the parkas proved that outerwear is this brand's enduring strength. A quite positive journey is ahead, and this one will allow Nicholas K to keep pushing the boundaries for the future upcoming collections.