"Who doesn't want to come to Paris if they're a designer?" said Rick Owens. "It's the ultimate place." Right. Putting on a show in the City of Light exposes a designer to an international audience—and the competition's fiercest glare. Even though Owens has been building a following out of L.A. for years, this collection represented the official breakthrough onto the world stage for his strong but subtle goth aesthetic.

Owens's supple, beat-up skins and fine layers of crinkled cr¿pe and knit have become cult items over the past couple of years, partly thanks to the way they mix with other clothes and pack so well. For fall, he showed gutsy updates on the asymmetric drapey layering, big, sloppy ribbed knits and distressed-leather looks that are coveted by his horde of traveling warrior women. His jackets—either small and narrow-sleeved or hefty and voluminous—were his star pieces, both done with the big collars that are showing up everywhere this season. A couple of dramatic post-apocalyptic parkas had a shaggy fringe of stuffing spilling from the edge, and a new body-fitting jacket was pieced together in zones of oyster and black pleated distressed satin. Alongside these, Owens recut his signature jacket—high in back, tapering to a point in front—in shearling.

The collection's news came in the the washed-out baby blue and pink tones that cropped up among the familiar blacks and browns, as well as the thigh-high boots that marched out on flat soles. As a total look, though, nothing much in the Owens universe has changed. His stylistic niche happens to slot in somewhere near the Belgian sensibility; as a Paris debut, it held its own with credibility.