The program notes explained that in place of the art and fashion images that usually inspire Ralph Rucci, he looked to quantum mechanics. As highfalutin as that sounds, it produced his most unfettered and modern work yet.

Quantum mechanics is the physics of waves, and an undulating motif coursed through the show—on a streamlined wool jersey day dress with decorative parallel seams traveling up the torso, say, or on a double-faced cashmere coat stitched together from concentric ovals. The concept came to its apotheosis in a tulle gown embroidered with rippling tubes of duchesse satin, a technique borrowed and adapted from the legendary Madame Grès. Other standouts included a vinyl raincoat quilted in a sunray pattern (yes, fashion's foremost fabric aesthete deigned to use vinyl) and a densely embroidered paillette dress with a horsehair underlay for shape.

But a word on Rucci's time slot: 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, the last day of a long month of collections. He moved his show to Paris, in part, so that his exquisite workmanship, and it is remarkable, could be better appreciated in the birthplace of couture. If he wants the full attention of the fashion community, he should find an open slot earlier in the schedule and grab it.