Roland Mouret may have given up his adopted London for the New York runways, but he could never abandon his French roots. Last season, he paid homage to Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour, while for fall, he jumped back a couple of decades to the Hôtel du Nord and what he described in his program notes as the "power and sensuality of forties Paris." But whereas his spring suits and party dresses had a modern, wearable sensibility, there was something retro about Mouret's Veronica Lake looks. Yes, the collection was meticulously crafted, but his precision tailoring, especially when it came to needle skirts, left little room for his models to stride. Christian Louboutin's platform stilettos, while severely sexy, didn't help matters.

Where Mouret succeeded was with square-neck, puff-sleeve cocktail dresses, which were just as body-loving as his skirts but seemed to have a little more give. Lovely too were his coats, which ranged from a shrunken pea jacket to washed-leather numbers. The buttons of one brown trench were skewed diagonally across the side of the torso; topped with a houndstooth scarf, the outfit had an off-kilter insouciance. Meanwhile, his boleros, cut extra-fitted and above the bust, were a fine example of what's shaping up to be the topper of the season.