Women buzzing to and fro in neat-to-the-body jackets, sheer shorts, bodysuits, tailored catsuits, and formfitting coats, equipped with Velcro-fastened flat boots and handbags. What was this about? In the words of creative director Raf Simons: "Women who have a target, and go for it."

That motivational motto might respectably be emblazoned above the door of every Jil Sander store as a welcome to all who must travail under the yoke of executive womanhood. Simons had come to this philosophical distillation after watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The September Issue, and traces of the wardrobes of both movies' stars—Angelina Jolie's stretchy shorts suits, and Anna Wintour's fitted tweed checks—were merged, streamlined, and reanimated on the runway.

Simons' earnest search for a way to represent pared-down, practical dressing for grown women in the twenty-first century is, of course, part of the broader fashion debate that has erupted this season, and it's one that this brand, above all, has to take on. Though part of the collection was posited in sci-fi and computer-game fantasy (the all-in-ones and knitted shorts suits), the rest (fly-front jackets, skirtsuits, and slim coats) still essentially came back to the stock patterns of the Jil Sander nineties. Simons' choices of fabric—the softly colored windowpane checks, scumbled tweeds and knits—are undoubtedly supple, deceptively light, easy to wear, wholly of today. But the questions still left hovering over his severe vision of the female go-to-work uniform are legion. Does a new generation of breadwinners really want to go back to the strict suiting patterns their elders felt dynamic in 15 years ago? Is "minimal," in that sense, actually retro? And does the sight of so many women powering around like work-driven robots reflect back an image that leaves us more uncomfortable than inspired?