Katayone Adeli’s brief, unadorned presentation bore witness to her conviction that a few well-expressed ideas make a stronger impact than a cacophony of half-baked gimmicks.

Retro currents run through every season, and this fall the attention seems to be on the late '50s and early '60s. Adeli demonstrated her respect for the past with slouchy sack jackets, tunic tops, blouson minis and perfectly fitted dresses that recalled masters of elegance like Cristobal Balenciaga and Hubert de Givenchy. She used appropriately ladylike fabrics—silk faille, satin, lightweight wool, brocade and chiffon—in a restricted palette made up mostly of black, navy and charcoal, but sparked with the occasional burst of color (a coral brocade coat, for example, or a green chiffon and gold lamé mini).

Demure though her inspirations might be, Adeli has a rock 'n' roll side, too. It came out in the ruffly, torn edges on chiffon tops and dresses, super-skinny pants under jackets, and a great new version of the old reliable black leather coat, made regal with an elaborately pinched and sewn collar.