Instead of lying low and playing it safe, Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra decided to go for "all-out Irving Penn" glamour. "We were sick of hearing about the recession," Tagliapietra explained.

A dress with striking angular jodhpur sleeves was the most Pennsian in a lineup that was more shapely and sculpted than ever before. The duo's virtuosity was evident in beautifully crafted cowls, asymmetric pleats, and hand pleats that embellished a collection almost entirely executed in a jersey fabric that Costello and Tagliapietra had developed with their sponsor, Ultrasuede. It wasn't the first time, though, that the designers allowed showtime shenanigans—dour makeup, an aggressive pace, and hands-on-hips posturing, in this case—to distract from the compelling drama of the clothes.