Backstage after his show, in between greeting such well-wishers as Rachel Feinstein and Debbie Harry, Marc Jacobs rattled off quite a list of talking points, from T.J. Wilcox's Garlands installation at Metro Pictures to Violet, the sullen superhero teenager of The Incredibles, to Edward Gorey. Toss in some "fashion editors in their minimalist black periods and Romeo Gigli shoes," and you have an approximation of his wide-ranging fall collection. It was quite a ride—made all the more surreal by a one-and-a-half-hour delay—and a much darker one than last season.

The show started off on a somber note with nubby black jackets and midcalf-length navy skirts that floated mysteriously around the models' legs, as if they'd been pumped up with air. Volume, and experimenting with it, became a recurring motif. Trapeze coats swung from shoulders; floral-print dresses ballooned behind Vlada and Lily as they tromped down the runway; and one moiré dress tented out beneath a chevron-striped mink coat. Another theme was embellishment. Rosettes adorned everything from the bust of a strapless velvet dress to a tweed muffler; tattered collars decorated jackets; and cardigans and knit caps were veiled with lace. But despite the parade of party dresses, some in black point d'esprit and others with flashes of colorful silk, it wasn't all girly, all the time. There's room in Jacobs' story for a tomboy or two, and they were dressed the part in rugby-striped sweaters that brought his grunge collection to mind.

Overall, however, these were clothes for girls who lead fairy tale lives, and quite a few of them—Uma Thurman, Drew Barrymore, Lisa Marie, and Lil' Kim included—were on hand to enjoy the spectacle.