"Every season, I start with tons of DVDs," explained Jeffrey Chow backstage before his show. At the end of his cinematic inspiration hunt for fall, what remained were Visconti's The Leopard and Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun. Those classics translated into a quietly glamorous collection of embellished feminine pieces—a copper taffeta corset with tarnished sequins, say—juxtaposed with sturdy, more masculine ones, such as a deceptively plain black tunic that buttoned up the back.

The wide-leg pants, bow-front dresses, and fur chubbies of the forties have made appearances on many a runway this week, but where other designers veered into retro territory, Chow kept his day and evening looks from seeming overdone. Five-ply camel hair hand-knit sweaters, duchesse satin cocktail dresses veiled in tulle and point d'esprit, and must-have little black coats exuded sedate luxury. With the exception of a velvet suit with jet beading that leaned a bit too toreador, this burgeoning talent seems firmly in control of his rising star.