Ralph Rucci is a kind of rock star among the chauffeur-driven set (they don't borrow, but actually buy and wear his clothes), and he also has a following among the high-culture crowd (he received an award from the National Design Museum last year). But his name doesn't register with the cool kids, and you probably won't see his work on the Oscars red carpet.

Today's show won't alter that profile. Though handbags, by Leonello Borghi, were a new addition for the designer, there weren't any surprises in a Fall collection that came in a somewhat drab palette of brown, ivory, and black. Of course, Rucci's celebrated craftsmanship was as much in evidence as ever. There were amazing hand-braided pieces and suits with insets, some of which had a Cubist feel. Katia Kokoreva looked too haute for words in a feathered cage over a caviar-beaded jumpsuit, and an infanta gown with scribbled topstitching took the season's Frankenstein trend to its most elegant conclusion. Day options included smart dresses with pintuck detailing. "The first word that comes to mind [about Chado]," said Washington style icon and front-row guest Deeda Blair, "is quality." There was certainly enough of that on display today to keep the Rucci loyalists happy.