Now in his second season at the Paris ready-to-wear, Elie Saab is starting to hit his stride. Fifteen looks shorter than his spring show, his fall presentation had a stronger focus. Inspired by imperial Russia, this white, black, and red collection not only echoed that of fellow couturier Valentino, but also touched on some of the trends of the season, including puffed sleeves, velvet, and embellished fur. With his most famous client, the sultry Halle Berry having graduated to Versace and its spring ad campaign, it seems Saab has moved on, too. One of the show's most charming looks, a white Empire gown with a black velvet belt, was sweet, as opposed to sexy, the sensibility for which he's long been known.

There was still room for improvement, however. Several of his gowns looked like they could have used a good steaming, and a few could have been shortened—that might've prevented the spill one model took in a ruffly black tulle number. And next season, Saab would be well advised to book bigger girls and invest more in beauty. Possibly someone told him that undone hair and makeup would make his clothes look more modern, but one glance at the polished coifs and faces in his front row and you know that undone is not what Saab's clients come to him for.