Couture week means a lot of crinoline, tulle, and taffeta. The word "fusty" comes to mind. Bouchra Jarrar cut through all that like a knife today with another collection that confirms her technique is just as sharp as her vision. Knives are no accidental metaphor. The jacket of an elegantly cut black tailleur was sliced open with a slash slightly askew of center, and teardrop cutouts accented the bodice of an otherwise understated little black dress.

Jarrar loves bold, graphic lines. Vivid stripes of pulsating blue and white bisected a simple gray shift, trimmed a charcoal tweed sleeveless coat-dress, added interest to knits. Backstage, the designer said she was interested in playing with the contrast of masculinity and femininity, but it's that luminous blue that people will remember. It was particularly striking on a vest interwoven with natural-color yarn, whose handwork made it the show's truly haute-est piece. Jarrar's collection may not be couture, per se—it's sold at Ikram, Jeffrey, Kirna Zabête, and Bergdorf Goodman—but its unfettered modernism gave it an edge on the first day of these Paris shows.