It must have been the ruffles. After his hyper-feminine collection for Spring, Riccardo Tisci has turned to the hyper-masculine work of the Italian designer Walter Albini, and his countryman, the architect Gio Ponti. Pre-fall is all sharp angles, with both geometric patch-working and color-blocking figuring prominently. Many looks were sliced at the shoulder; the asymmetric silhouette was one of the big successes of his last show, and he revisited it here, but along stricter, neoclassical lines. Even the color palette—white, black, brown, and tan—came off a bit butch. Flat men's shoes accessorized all the looks, driving the point further home.

Touches of lace lent a welcome softness. Button-downs were elaborately constructed with the stuff, almost like mosaics, and it was also stitched together Rorschach-style on a pencil skirt. Tisci hasn't completely finished with ruffles, either, and that's good. They added some sensuality to a collection that came off a little cool. Today, they had a less formal feel than they did for Spring, accentuating and decorating the waistline of one of his signature skirt-pant combos, or trailing down the front of an easy cashmere jersey dress.

For evening, he kept the story streamlined, showing one-sleeve long dresses with an open side seam that revealed men's trousers. No red-carpet fodder here. He's saving that for the awards circuit and for his dates at this year's Met gala, where he'll play cohost.