"Sleek" and "elegant" aren't words you automatically associate with Threeasfour. "Avant-garde" and "experimental" are more like it. But without letting go of their signature swirling cut and construction, Gabi, Adi, and Ange have indeed reached a new level of refinement. It came through in a striking metallic gray wool cape with folds and tucks that curved like the inside of an abalone shell. You could see it in a cobalt silk blouson and a tweedy pencil skirt that would've qualified as prim but for a cowrie shell-shaped flourish at the hem. And it must mean something that the show opened with a black wool tuxedo jacket that oozed not eccentricity but polish.

Among the 22 looks was a wardrobe of shoulder-baring cocktail dresses, each draped differently with the hem looped up to the waist or the straps—all of them fluttering, three-dimensional beauties. Should the Oscar show go on, a teal gown made of spiraling tendrils of silk would make an inspired red-carpet choice.