Showing in his new showroom space—an atmospheric turn-of-the-century Parisian atelier—Josephus Thimister's collection was an exercise in subtlety. Hairstylist Odile Gilbert's pink- and grey-powdered eighteenth-century looks—on both men and women—reflected a mood gently suggested by Thimister via Beau Brummel collars on poplin blouses, and close-to-the-body frock coats in stiff felted wools.

Confined to an exquisite palette of bois de rose, bone, ink, dulled silver and tobacco, Thimister made his a message of continuity, revisiting his trademark pieces. The sheath dress with a draped wrap in back, or pelican cowl in front, was reconsidered in glazed linen or ribbed platinum lamé. Thimister's signature mohair hand-knits appeared as overscaled sweaters over side-swagged skirts, or as slim evening dresses dusted with tarnished silver sequins and ribbon thread--or even as a fragile evening stole for a shining evening sheath worn by enduringly beautiful '60s supermodel Benedetta Barzini. Thimister's oatmeal mohair hand-knit cardigan with platinum lamé pants was also the most contemporary take on the vintage Chanel redux that has proved a collection's keynote—a subtle homage to another designer who believed in evolutionary fashion.