With all those layers of wool felt, cashmere, and fur blanketing the runways in New York and Milan, this is Rick Owens' moment. Few designers do dark quite like he does, and he played to his strengths for fall with such items as an extraordinary, apocalyptic black puffer coat that looked as if it were sewn from an inflated life raft. Who knows if it¿ll float, but it hugged the torso like a dream, its lapels rising almost to the chin then cutting away just above the waist to a tapered back.

Owens worked less statement-making fabrics into similar body-framing shapes. Some of his best jackets came in silvery linen inset with shrunken vests of peachy-gold washed leather. Those orchid-petal lapels he did last season? They've blossomed into double-breasted jackets.

The designer had stripped away some of his familiar goth affectations—notably, the models' ghostly white makeup—but he didn't stay away from that aforementioned dark side for long. It appeared in the form of felted wool boleros trimmed with ruffles of knit and worn over high-waist cropped pants, as well as in a series of almost minimal suits—the straight seams of which set them apart from his signature bias-cut fare. It also materialized in a trio of drapey black evening dresses. Slit down to there, the gowns' easy, billowing forms made a lovely counterpoint to the rigor of Owens' daywear.