It seemed like just another pre-show melee at Calvin Klein’s Friday afternoon presentation: packs of photographers jostling to get shots of Hilary Swank, Renée Zellweger and Clare Danes as editors and retailers milled sociably. But in fact there was a sea change taking place: That day, the designer officially closed the $430 million deal to sell the company he and partner Barry Schwartz started 35 years ago to Philips-Van Heusen. Klein claims he’s going to help the new owners build his name into a billion-dollar megabrand—but that’s a world of shoe and underwear licenses, not designer sportswear. And whether he’ll still have the appetite to do a collection every six months remains to be seen.

His fall collection read like a mixed reaction. There were classic Klein touches—that gracefully minimalist cut, in perfectly fitting slim trousers and neat wool flannel jackets with firmly squared-off shoulders and whip-thin leather belts. He showed plenty of dresses, many sleeveless and cut with a flirty little flounce just above the knee. And as might be expected from a man who started as a coat designer, there was good-looking outerwear: a boxy wool bouclé style, a black shearling baseball jacket as plush as a teddy bear, sleek black leathers and supple cashmeres. But there were elements that didn’t compute, like an odd red-green-gold abstract print, poufy bubble skirts and—given his obvious appeal to the Hollywood contingent—a disappointing absence of the glamorously simple eveningwear he’s offered up in the past.