From Lanvin's Afrocentric bejeweled finale dresses to Rick Owens' glamorous nuns, tribes have been all the talk at Paris fashion week. Ann Demeulemeester's was particularly fierce, with its red leather, glistening coq feathers, and necklaces of braided whipcord. Perhaps a bit too fierce: Those details looked better and more believable in smaller doses—a red waistcoat, say, peeking out from beneath a black jacket, or plumes decorating the wrists of leather gloves—than they did served full-on (and things did get full-on there toward the end).

Demeulemeester chalked up points for experimentation but was much more in her element when it came to the confident tailoring that opened the show. Pants came pleated and full, jackets misbuttoned to create a sense of relaxation. In a season crowded with capes, her strong-shouldered camel version was a standout. And her furs, draped at the neck and tied nonchalantly at the waist, had an offhand kind of luxe that other designers haven't been able to grasp.

If you really want to talk tribal, ask one of the initiated about the fetish that has been made of Demeulemeester's boots. This season's skinny sliced wedge looks like a wait list waiting to happen.