When a show works, there's always one outfit that serves to underscore what makes the whole thing so right. That moment came at Carolina Herrera's fall 2005 collection with a look described in the program notes as a mahogany moiré strapless gown with fluted skirt. Stripped of any unnecessary embellishment, this exquisitely constructed evening dress was the perfect distillation of everything for which Herrera stands: old-world (but most definitely not old-fashioned) charm and elegance that have been glossily brought bang up to date.

Herrera also focused on what to wear during the day, imbuing those clothes with a 1940's feel without making them look retro. Most effective were what she called her trumpet skirts (fitted across the hips before flaring out sassily over the knees) and a slew of tweed hunting suits—in particular, one that came in a yellow windowpane check. Body-conscious and streamlined, yet without sacrificing any prettiness, this is what constitutes modern power dressing. Despite the richness of Herrera's fabrics—and "richness" is the word, what with a lavish lynx fur, a charcoal broadtail dress, and a beautiful, raspberry abstract-print silk used for a cocktail dress and a sweeping ball skirt—the final effect was chic, but never flashy.