If last season's criticized Shaker collection was going to teach Zac Posen anything, it might've been this: to dial down the ebullience. But that's not what happened at his Fall show, which both referenced Minnie Mouse and invoked a bordello. The models wore pompoms on either side of their tight chignons, and many of the dresses were sheer enough to reveal spangled underwear and black garter belts. After-dark options edged out daywear by a wide margin, which was too bad, because the most elegant piece here was, hands down, a herringbone-tweed sheath, and it would have been great if the focus had been more of the same. That isn't to say eveningwear is a bad thing, but crinolines—which he showed under a robe à la française and a mini-parachute dress—are quite another story.

Posen cut all of the sugar and spice with great tailoring, some of it in a soft-quilted cloque that his program notes dubbed "bubble wrap." On the harder side, a Prince of Wales schoolboy suit looked signature—it was curvy and fit like a glove—but it didn't have quite the sex appeal of a plunging Le Smoking jumpsuit.

For the first time, he brought out his sister and creative director, Alexandra, for a post-finale bow. It seemed a strange disconnect, because so much of this collection looked designed not for grown-up women (ones with jobs) but for living dolls.