Casting away all but one of his usual theatrical props, Alexander McQueen proved to Paris that his design can stand on its own dramatically erotic strengths. Showing in the shadowy medieval vaulted hall of the Conciergerie, McQueen couldn't resist a lone, macabre trick—a vista of a pack of caged wolves, and the opening image of a lone figure clad in a purple leather cape leading a pair of dogs (who looked more scared than scary). But that was just for old times' sake. When his models stalked out in brown tweed, tailored to within an inch of their lives, and strapped into variations on brown leather braces, it was clear McQueen was concentrating on clothes and not theatrics.

His vixenish women had tiny-waisted silhouettes done with amazing attention to cut and detail. Milkmaid necklines—far from innocent-were pushed up by leather bodices that curved down into the tightest pencil skirts, and finished off with thigh-high leather boots. McQueen moved from that Helmut Newton-esque fantasy to another—bad schoolgirls, who mixed lingerie and silver lamé ties and skirts in with their proper blazers and duffels. For a splendid finale, he brought out romantic flouncy skirts, an exaggerated puff sleeved black velvet coat and a skirt made of swags of jet beading. Best of all, he's softened his sometimes severe hand so that the idea of wearing these pieces seems not just possible, but quite appealing.

A trim McQueen took his bow in a bespoke suit made by the Savile Row tailors, Huntsman. It seemed like a coming of age. "I wanted it to be romantic, beautiful," he said. "Power to the women! I got fit for this and I worked hard for it."