"I wanted to take a motorcycle and escape to Tibet," said Haider Ackermann, the peripatetic Colombian-born, Belgian-trained designer whose subtle, sometimes stark clothes are still flying under the radar in the U.S.

With this rather abstract concept in mind, Ackermann layered and draped leathers, suedes, and velvets in a deep palette of plums, sage greens, and grays. The most challenging of his looks was a tunic that twisted and bunched at the waist: not an easy area to wear extra fabric ("for some it will be too heavy," he admitted backstage). Modified biker jackets with zippers that twisted from one shoulder to the opposite hip were more user-friendly.

The jersey dresses that floated to the floor from gathered and ruched necklines were dramatic in an unembellished, perhaps almost monastic, way. Ackermann was at his best working in this idiom of austerely cool draping. When he added details to the collection's more tailored pieces, though, the results were slightly off: Bands of sequins on walking shorts, and a pair of chiffon pants with a gathered hem, worn over another pair of shorts, were impractical and fussy. That said, a bronze one-button suit was sexy and edgy and way too sophisticated for the windswept wilds of Tibet .