The Mulleavy sisters have a way of provoking strong reactions, pro or con. As always, the quality of their workmanship was meticulous for Fall; so much so, one editor commented, "that it's almost painful."

The show veered between two Mulleavian extremes: the fantastic and the classic. While the more radical experimentation with volume helps them stand out in the Manhattan fashion landscape—and was successful on the opening coat, for example—other pieces, though undeniably sophisticated, seemed almost too rare to touch.

The sisters collaborated with Swarovski, resulting in twinkling embroideries on Bianchini brocades from the 1920s and on some unusual laminated fabrics. The designers took joy in molding new materials into different shapes. A fake leather, for example, was worked into a lean, mean pair of pants, worn with a hand-knit sweater-vest and a lace top—all of which managed to look almost casual in relation to the Poiret-like lamp-shade dresses at show's end.

Needing less explication or argument were the goddess gowns. Jessica Stam wore a one-shouldered blush-colored one that clung about her like mist. Another featured twisted pendant trimmings with glistening oil-black jet beads. The finale dress, in ombré pinks, had pinked edges inset into wafty waves of pleats—and a sigh went up in the room. In the end, all of the talk and palaver is just further proof that fashion takes Rodarte seriously.