Narciso Rodriguez's fall collection was a study in contrasts. He played with two ideas: volume and its absence. The former had him experimenting with ballooning skirts with something of the ballerina to them. The latter, more familiar territory, saw him revisiting his rigorously seamed sheaths, but in color combinations a shade more offbeat, say black, white, and baby pink. Silk insets on a wool dress looked geometric in their precision. And coats, though no doubt soft to the touch, called to mind a warrior's armor. Perhaps that's why Rodriguez has so many fans—his structured clothes make them feel protected (or put another way, held in), and sexy at once. If they call for a frame that has little in the way of the superfluous, so be it.

After dark though, Rodriguez mostly avoided his signature seaming, focusing instead on simply cut, above-the-knee tanks and sheaths saved from plainness by elaborate, all-over embroidery. A white glass-beaded dress was further embellished with clear plastic paillettes. And one silk faille shift was so densely woven with silver it resembled chain mail. As for the floor-length gowns that have made him a favorite of his front-row guest, Oscar nominee Rachel Weisz, there were none to be seen on his runway. Rodriguez must be saving them for her red carpet victory lap.