After a Spring collection that had Zac Posen in show-off mode—a change of venue from New York to Paris will do that to a guy—pre-fall finds the designer back in the territory he staked out a decade ago. His corseted dresses don't exactly skimp on drama, but the bells and whistles have disappeared; the overall effect is much cleaner, not to mention a whole lot sexier. In a strappy leopard-spot style or a more covered-up sheath in a Venus flytrap print by Rosson Crowe, it'll be his customer's curves that do the talking—not distracting feathers or cutouts. His tailored pieces have likewise been stripped of a lot of the superfluities of recent seasons. It doesn't get more streamlined than his collarless, zip-front, black ponyhair coat. Laser cutting at the hem of a peacoat has replaced heavy embroidery.

The irony is that this pre-fall outing took its inspiration from the French interior designer Madeleine Castaing, whose romantic, neoclassical style flew in the face of mid-twentieth-century modern style. You saw a bit of her trademark wit in a sweater featuring a cameo by Posen's poodle, Tina Turner. For the most part, though, Posen seems quite serious about designing a retail-friendly collection (he's got a new president, late of Carolina Herrera, to help); those body-conscious hourglass dresses have dollar signs written all over them.