Audiences always arrive at Prada shows tingling with anticipation, braced for Miuccia Prada's next departure from the last seasons plot. This time, she confounded expectation again, not by taking off in a new direction, but by developing the cache of ideas layered into her spring collection. That, of course, was famously about the fifties lady tourist, with an overlay of hippie-ish tie-dye among the circle skirts and knits. For winter, she took that same woman into new realms of intellectual exploration on the print front: back to the future, in fact.

"It was a dream of extreme romanticism," she said. "The idea of eighteenth-century painting, with video games. A romanticism between past and future." The cyber fantasy came in computer-generated prints on her signature big, puffy skirts and the odd quirky robot appliqué on gray T-shirts. Yet none of that seemed jarringly obtrusive in a collection that concentrated again on the in-and-out silhouette she established last season. For colder months, shes added more layers, adding in dip-dyed cable knits and buttonless cardigans betwixt tweeds and bejeweled fifties-style couture-like pieces. What held it all together, literally, were the cinched waists, circled in narrow grosgrain ribbon or with tie-on belts encrusted with sparkle.

It was that idea of jeweling, on collars, belts, and fabric brooches, that added the news. In a brilliant leap, she transposed those crunchy patches of decoration onto fitted down jackets—a perfect conflation of old-world luxury with classic Prada techno fabric that stood as the symbol of the entire collection.