This morning's Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti show—an intimate seated salon affair—couldn't have been more different from the label's past few presentations. Those always seemed more like a cocktail party that incidentally had models stomping up and down a runway. "For five seasons we have been doing the same situation," said Alberta Ferretti after the show. "For this, it is important to see the dress." She was right; these clothes were worth studying without the distraction of a glass of Champagne or an air-kiss.

The designer revisited the boy-girl thing that she loves to explore, but there was a newly elevated level of polish to the luxuriously tailored officer's coats in wools and thick buttery leathers and their counterpoint of romantic lace dresses. To that mix, Ferretti injected a naughty-edged propriety with glossy black Victorian lace-up knee boots and beautiful high-starched collars with laser-cut edges and lace insets. There was more of that duality on chic coats that were plain and proper in front and turned to reveal a sexy and chic flare of pleats.

Awards season is coming up, and evening is an important element of this red-carpet staple. One standout: a pale gray bias-cut gown made of various layers of lace and sequins topped with a slim ruffled knit and white collar. It may not be for every girl, but we'd give it Best Dressed on the right young starlet.