Vera Wang sustained the coolly wistful feeling of her spring show with a lovely Asian-tinged collection for fall.

Although best known for her evening looks, Wang has clearly been putting some thought into daywear, opening her show with a slim black coat whose three-quarter sleeves and low belt whispered an early ’60s elegance. Other sportswear pieces, like a great ivory goatskin coat, or a black cashmere shell and slim skirt, were judiciously embellished with a glimmer of beads, a bit of swinging passementerie or a bar of origami-folded ribbon. Some were topped with adorable shrugs made from fur or cashmere, or knitted with popcorn. Wang also did long and short versions of sexy silk jersey dresses, including one strappy number she called a bondage dress—although if that's bondage, Debra Messing is a dominatrix.

The modern dilemma for eveningwear, as recent red carpets have made all too obvious, is how to achieve glamour and sophistication without falling into old-and-fussy or new-and-weird. Wang has that problem solved: A pale-gray chiffon gown, cut in the time-honored plunge-neck style, gets a fresh treatment via raw seams; a high mandarin collar makes a satin dress stand out; and a taupe gown made from the webbiest open-work lace enhances without overwhelming—which could well be this designer’s motto.