This year marks Alber Elbaz's tenth anniversary at Lanvin. "We've been talking a lot about 'the house' lately," he said at his pre-fall presentation. For that reason, and because the brand is opening a new Madison Avenue menswear store soon (David Mann is the architect), construction has been much on the designer's mind. "This collection," he explained, "is about new fabrics, new technologies, and new volumes."

The show's most eye-catching material was an ivory lace bonded to a nude wool that Elbaz whipped into a long-sleeved dress that zipped up the back. But there were other fabrics that the Lanvin girl might not yet have in her collection: A boxy navy T-shirt and cropped trousers were cut from spongy polyester duchesse, and a swingy red trench and matching shift looked and sounded, as he put it, "plastified." Crinkly patent leather or rubberized wool? Either way, the woman who wears it will turn heads.

That's Elbaz's gift. He nails the "want" factor season in and season out. Looking particularly fresh this time around was a floor-grazing, narrow black silk skirt and slouchy oyster blouse, topped by a slightly oversize fur jacket.

Jewelry is a big part of the Lanvin look, and for pre-fall, Elbaz has embraced cameos—big ones dangling from silk ribbons or pinned to the bodice of a sleeveless top. You can be sure you'll be seeing a lot more of those on the runways next month.