09/11/2013 08:50 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST

Narciso Rodriguez is cool with the compliment of quiet clothes

NEW YORK, N.Y. - There wasn't much on the Narciso Rodriguez runway at New York Fashion Week, and that's intended as a compliment. Just take a look at the white wool-silk coat or hammered-satin sheath.

They were, by definition and design, simple, elegant and chic.

Rodriguez is never much of an over-offender of bells, whistles and gimmicks, but he turned out a spring collection of pared-down, well-cut, wearable clothes — or they would be if the hemlines were a bit longer.

"I want you to leave here saying, 'I want the clothes,' 'I want those shoes,' 'I love that dress,'" Rodriguez said in a backstage interview.

He added, "Sometimes fashion is made for fantasy ... but I want to dress women."

The goal seems possible based on the spring collection he previewed for editors, stylists and retailers who made the Tuesday-night trip to a studio space on Manhattan's far West Side.

Rodriguez didn't bow to the trend of a looser shape; his silhouettes were trim and unfussy, his signature. They weren't constricting or boring, though.

He used the graphic play of black and white to his advantage, opening the show with a shorts suit that had white wool on the shoulders, a black laminated inset on the bodice and black laminated wool shorts. He added wisps of fabric to some of his pastel-shaded dresses to trail gently behind the models. A light yellow silk crepe dress was so gently draped, it was sexy. There also were ultra-light slip-style tops and dresses.

Rodriguez did offer some prints that he literally put under a microscope to develop: He looked at crystals and shark skin, blew them up and colored them in copper.

"Today, everyone wants to be famous and loud. They are famous for not doing anything. ... I prefer a simpler life," he said. Bravo.