"It started off dark," mused Rick Owens, as he laconically considered the lightness that overtook him while designing Fall. "But then…they blossomed into swans." Of course, it was as otherworldly a flock as ever, but the strange beauty of Owens' collection came across in a triumphal way that has rarely read so well on his runway. Often the intricately evolved layerings that go into his work are hidden by being sunk in black. This time, after eight solid monochrome looks, all that suddenly changed. With a shift into icy blue, pearly gray, palest beige, and silver—from his mink-and-goat fur beanies down to the baggy wedge boots—all the genius of Owens' vision came to light.

Every look was constructed around a high-necked, raised-shoulder jacket, wrapped at the throat and falling away into various asymmetries beneath. Under that came two or three more layers of tunics or skirts (it was impossible to tell which) over leggings, and boots constructed from soft leather like some sort of Boccioni futurist sculpture. Sounds weird? Not at all to initiates of the beauty of Owens' leather jackets, and the utilitarian cool of practically every component he works in. In reality, what wearers know by heart is that the scary-chic of a Rick Owens runway look actually dismantles to fit an extraordinarily broad spectrum of shapes, lives, and ages. It's made him a huge influence on young girls and a resource for grown sophisticates alike: an American design hero whose time has come.