Marc Jacobs may have banned the celeb circus, but when L'Wren Scott does boldfaced names, it's in her own precisely chic and personal way. This season it was Brooke Shields, Selma Blair, Rachel Feinstein Currin, Ellen Barkin, Daphne Guinness, and a radiant Christina Hendricks, who recently atoned for her sartorial sins at the Golden Globes by knocking them dead in one of Scott's frocks at the Directors Guild Awards.

Scott called this collection Tuxedo Terrace, intending to explore various incarnations of the formal staple. But the second look out—a thin gray sweater layered casually over a white shirt and slim trousers—was downright casual. "I always do knits," Scott explained afterward. "I just don't always show them." There were also a pair of sequined cardies, and even if the knits weren't news, they were refreshing to see.

It was soon back to black(-tie) with all sorts of razor-pleated bibs and bow-tie collars. A couple of instances read costumey, but a tuxedo shirt transformed into a black leather dress and a lean, languid robelike coat with sequined lapels showed that it could be done to ultrarefined effect. Dovetailing with the theme of propriety was a dose of Victoriana, evident in beautiful cutaway jackets with high ruffled collars or Scott's signature schoolmarm dresses. But all work and no play.… The counterpoint was hems above mid-thigh, a slight shock if you've become accustomed to Scott's knee-obscuring lengths. The highlight was a textured bright-silver tank dress on Bruna Tenorio.

Scott has set her own bar high, and overall the collection lacked the laser-sharp focus of seasons past. Still, there were exquisite clothes here, among them the Oscar-worthy frocks that closed the show. Our favorite: a swirling sequin and marabou column, a winner before a single envelope is opened.