For her couture presentation earlier this year, Anne Valérie Hash bid adieu to the Louvre in favor of her dixième arrondissement atelier, and she stuck with the more intimate space for her Fall show. As for the clothes, the designer said she began by thinking about "very dark, protective tailoring." That gave her the opportunity to put a few of her signature jumpsuits on the runway (this time in gray flannel and long-sleeved or strapless and worn over a metallic ribbed knit), as well as to experiment with the shoulder line of pantsuits. Hers were pinched about an inch or so down the back, so the silhouette was widened as well as heightened like a carapace.

Somewhere in the middle of the design process, though, Hash said she changed tacks. "We are all very tense," she said, alluding to the recession. "We just need to relax." So halfway through, the palette lightened—from navy, black, and charcoal to rose, apricot, teal, and silvery white—and so did the fabrics. A pair of dresses—one short with a 3-D effect, thanks to thin strips of silk stitched vertically from an illusion neckline; the other long and narrow and made from lace with horizontal bands of ruffs—captured her range. The common thread: They were both nearly weightless, a quality you could pick up on in the atelier setting.

On paper, the collection might sound like a clash of two ideas. In fact, it was one of Hash's best, as exemplified by the last look: a delicate blouse and tapering pants, both in blushing pink, that captured the masculine/feminine mix.