In a season when so many designers have begun quoting ideas about warrior women, and getting excited about gothic northern layerings, kudos are due to Ann Demeulemeester. She, after all, invented—or rather inhabits—this style. For her, sending out a strong urban female with an elegant-barbaric wardrobe is no passing whim, but a way of life, thoroughly believed in for 20 years.

For fall there were no surprises: It looked just as it ever has, with just a few twists to the interpretation. Demeulemeester did black layers, of course, but there were subtleties. She had narrow military cutaway coats and long, asymmetric velvet dresses that trailed sinuously; these ideas, nothing new for her, were right on track with the general direction of fashion at the moment. She added wide pants and metallic leathers that also happen to jibe with current trends. When Demeulemeester put her mind to redefining the long skirt—always a part of her oeuvre, but now a subject of the minute—she came up with a tiny bolero jacket over a narrow, sari-like tube, draped from one shoulder. Excellent—but, then again, hardly a deviation from her continuous line of thought. And that's the cool thing about Demeulemeester: Though she intuits the general shape of fashion in her collection, nothing will ever knock her off the integrity of her course.