For a designer who first caused a stir with sizzling, form-enhancing dresses, this season's talk about the need for rational daywear must be concerning and possibly confusing. Roland Mouret, who's been working on adding coats and knitwear to his repertoire for a while, seemed to allow it to back him into an oddly gloomy corner for Fall. This time, he turned his career-long technique of cutting and wrapping fabric on the square into constructs involving draped and hoicked-up shapes manipulated into hooded outerwear in tweedy, grayish, muted off-colors. That wasn't all he had, but it set the show off on a drabber note than usual.

Experimenting with broadening one's scope is not in itself at all wrong, of course. In his studio in London, Mouret has devoted much thought and research to developing a wardrobe of multipurpose, transformable pieces—his tunic-top dress, and the thing he calls a "carré," which can be worn as either a top or a skirt, suspended from ribbon tapes. Alongside that, he's come up with patterned twinsets—a short sweater and longer cardigan, in this show—and narrow pants, in velvet. At times though, the complicated draping around the middle section of skirts, and the pulled-up back view on a shirtdress canceled out Mouret's main go-to attraction. Flattery through simplicity is what he does best, and those overelaborate items were a red flag for anyone concerned with wearability.

Still, Mouret's talent for modern evening glamour was present and correct in more than one way this week in Paris. His long, dusty pink dress with a black ribbon tied in the small of a bared back had the kind of quietly sexy sophistication his customers gravitate toward. One of them happens to be Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. This week, she wore Mouret's long-sleeved, covered-up jade evening gown with a slit skirt to a state dinner at the Elysée Palace. It had that combination of simplicity, propriety, and, yes, form-enhancing sizzle all women clock from a mile off. Once Mouret refocuses more on that, he'll be back on track.