Somber will never be this designer┐s style—or that of her Park Avenue clients. And yet, there was almost a brooding or even mysterious quality to Herrera's Fall collection. Side-by-side with chic little skirtsuits and covetable furs (among them a must-have three-quarter-sleeve tunic), she showed a cropped jacket in broadtail with a sly, standup collar, a muskrat trench with felted-wool trim and belt, and long, languorous skirts with graceful trains. With dark menswear plaids and jacquards juxtaposed against the artistic detailing that has lately become a Herrera signature, the effect was altogether different from her confectionary-sweet spring outing.

The designer upped the luxury ante for evening. There was a couturelike finish to the gathered tulle that overlaid a painted georgette column; a dress appliquéd all over with squares of graduated taffeta was an impressive technical feat. Such extraordinary attention to detail sometimes got the better of Herrera, though. Embroidered broadtail, micropleats (at a shirt collar and running down the front of a skirt), and crystal-studded tights could quickly become too much of a good thing. But there were moments of lovely simplicity, too. Take, for instance, a black maxi coat worn with an organza blouse and wide-leg pants. Amid all that visual stimuli, it almost got lost, but solo it┐s a guaranteed hit.