In past seasons Vera Wang has voyaged back in time to czarist Russia or ancient Rome, with the result that her collections sometimes appeared too much like costume. But for Fall she took her color cue from the modernist painter Kees van Dongen, and her strongest influence, believe it or not, was the street.

There was a hipper edge to her layered silhouettes. It came across most clearly in youthful-looking sleeveless peplum tops in techno brocade or pleated ottoman, worn with tapering satin leggings. The sculptural bed jackets in quilted faille were equally cool. This isn't to say Wang has abandoned the luxe she loves: We saw more of the burnished bullion embroidery and the crystal and jet jewelry, including knockout cuffs by Philip Crangi, that she's used in previous seasons. Her latest obsession, though, is manipulating fabrics. She worked organza and felt into lavish florets—spiraling around the waist or perched on the shoulder—and grand ruffles cascaded down the front of a kimono jacket (note: an early Fall trend). As emphasized by the huge mirrors at the top of the runway, a great deal of the focus here was on the back of the garments. Take, for instance, an embroidered top with a tutu train, or a broadtail and fox jacket with a bustle. Wang is a designer who finesses every tiny detail, and this time, there wasn't a single stitch out of place.