It was all unexpectedly sexy, as models in scarlet tights slunk around Mark Seliger's studio like caged cats, to the husky tones of Amanda Lear's "I Am a Photograph."

"We wanted them to look like the girl on Bryan Ferry's Roxy Music covers," Rodriguez said. "Feline" is the word that best describes her black body-con cocktail dresses. A lone bow capelet spoke to the old-time romance of past collections, while short-on-sugar-but-long-on-spice suits and dresses in sculptural and fitted shapes were constructed of wools, knit lace, cashmere, and lots of leather, patent and otherwise.

The birds-of-paradise that brazenly bloom everywhere in Los Angeles lit the march of Rodriguez's creative flame this season, and the inspiration grew to encompass birds, canyons, modern architecture, and machines. It was a collection that had not only been fired up, but—like a lot of the shows we've seen so far this week—had grown up, too.