There will be lace. And sculpted organza, floaty feathers, beading, and draped tulle. For a few seasons now, queen of the red carpet Georgina Chapman has refined Marchesa's signatures to a flawlessly executed fine point. That's not to say that the label remains at a standstill, however. Fall was inspired by the performer and courtesan Lola Montez and her travels and quest for love, Chapman said. Compared with last season's occasionally stiff references to Madame Butterfly, there was a welcome sense of whimsy, with a feeling of girlish romance in shooting-star embroideries as well as in a dress in cotton-candy tulle, its puff shaped only by a length of black grosgrain ribbon. There were snaking ruffles that appeared to be crafted from very expensive rickrack, and a sleek tuxedo coat that had a circus ringleader's swagger. (Though the real Montez never joined the circus; that was only her celluloid counterpart.)

There are always moments at this presentation that induce a sharp intake of breath. Today it was the appearance of a silver siren gown. The lace-patterned beading on the bodice turned into allover beading and looked like liquid metal. A Fall collection for any creator of eveningwear is inevitably higher-stakes than Spring, coinciding as it does with awards season—all those stars, or their stylists, looking to snag something directly from the runway. Does Chapman keep that in mind when designing? "Yes, yes," she said. "It would be silly not to." It would be sillier still if we don't see at least a couple of these pieces—perhaps a gorgeous paisley beaded fuchsia suede dress or a white feathered Empire gown—on a talented ingenue in the near future.