"I've been thinking about camping," said Isaac Mizrahi on the phone a week before his show. "It's a theme I always return to—anoraks, parkas, Eskimos, plaid, quilting." But for this dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, the wilderness in question was Central Park, that woodsy refuge bordered by Bergdorf's and the Met (where, incidentally, he plucked a few threads of inspiration from the Japanese armor show for his own).

The designer had endless witticisms to describe his direction. "Think Geoffrey L.L. Bean," said his show notes. "Or even Buffalo Bill Blass." And the first grouping in the show? "Parka Avenue," natch. But snappy turns of phrase aside, this was Mizrahi in fine form, not allowing his camp fantasy to whisk the collection away into Never-Wear Land. In fact, he made a pretty convincing argument that the uniform of 10022 could do with a dose of outdoorsy-ness. Why not tie a fur hood over your silver sequined bomber and brocade skirt? And shouldn't every woman have a boxy, bracelet-sleeve Barbour-esque quilted jacket to throw over her lunch suit when the weather's frightful? (To underline his point, Mizrahi provided fake snow.)

The show wasn't without its clunky moments, but there were more than enough truly chic and wearable ones to let those slide. "Oh, the theme is great clothes," relented Mizrahi at the end of our call. It's not as snappy a remark as the rest, but translated to the runway, it looked pretty darn good.