Ethereal, not edgy, has always been Vanessa Bruno's adjective. For Fall, though, she's joined the urban-warrior brigade—having judged, apparently, that breezy chiffon layers and lots of skin weren't quite the thing in which to face down 2009's harsh new realities.

Opening the show were navy ribbed sweaters with military-looking gold fringe on the shoulders, worn with leather leggings and suede wrap skirts (there was a lot of action at the hips). Closing it were dresses with bodices that were Rodarte-like collages of black tulle, gold dots, and basket weave. Sandwiched in between were the sorts of colorful pieces that her legions of fans and international retailers love: a golden hammered-silk blouse and gray high-waisted trousers accompanied by a dark-green leather obi; a Lurex-shot violet dress; and a wine-red coat that she accessorized with knee-high black leather spats. Plain old pretty wasn't on Bruno's agenda this season, which puts her (a bit too) squarely in the middle of things.