Can fashion be minimalist and still be sporty? That seems to be the direction Jean-Pierre Braganza is heading with his spring/summer 2014 line. Sometimes it works beautifully, but at other times … it’s difficult to be minimalist with all those zippers and buttons.

The Canadian-born Braganza surprised me a bit this afternoon. I was expecting something a bit darker from a designer who says his clothes encourage women to “embrace the dark side of life,” and in with his fall/winter ’13 line that direction was considerably more obvious. With what he showed today, though, anyone exploring their dark side might want to bring along a pair of binoculars or they may not ever see it.

Braganza starts with a two-piece separate that could almost pass as a cheerleading outfit if only the pink were a little brighter. The second piece might be a workout suit, but then the third is a decidedly modern dress with folds reminiscent of the Calvin Klein Collection we saw in New York. Are we confused as to which direction this is going?

Hold on, he’s not done. Pieces with silhouettes that would indicate jersey dresses have a beautifully asymmetrical hem. In fact, across all Braganza’s dresses and skirts, hemlines are so askew that one might mistakenly think they’d been put on incorrectly. The effect works beautifully, though, so why are we complaining?

Actually, I’m not. The only difficulty here is trying to figure out how to concisely describe this collection that at times seems to be pulling influences from a dozen different directions. Is it sporty? Yes. Is it dressy? Yes. Is it contemporary? Absolutely.

Consider this head-spinning move. I’m watching these incredibly gorgeous Asian prints come down the catwalkl; they’re red and black designs on silver, the cut and styling is asymmetrical heaven. Then, for just one look, he sends down a little black dress with a long mermaid-tail train. Beautiful? Without question! But totally unrelated to the prints on either side of it.

As wonderfully attractive as this collection is, I’m fighting a real temptation to take Jean-Pierre by the shoulders and scream “pick a style and stick with it!”

I won’t. I really like this line and I think you will, too. Just … maybe take it a piece at a time.

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