"I wanted something glamorous without being feminine," Dries Van Noten said of his latest collection. He chose as its nexus the most glamorous mid-seventies incarnation of the most glamorous male chameleon of them all: David Bowie as the Thin White Duke. The models sported Bowie's hairstyle of the time (reddish blond, slicked back). The soundtrack played a radically deconstructed version of "Golden Years" (one of his biggest American hits). And Van Noten made full use of a silhouette—peak-shouldered, double-breasted jacket over full, pleated pants—that echoed the nouveau-Sinatra outfits worn by Bowie on his epochal '76 tour in support of Station to Station, the album that launched the TWD on the world.

It could have been one more fashion love letter to one of the most influential performers of the past half-century—the designer acknowledged backstage how intrigued he's always been by Bowie—and that would have been the end of it. But obviously Van Noten had other things on his mind. He said Bowie got him thinking about surfaces and what happens when you scratch them, and so he put together a collection that was based on oppositions: a formal navy evening jacket over a casual white tee; a sleek, chic shawl-collared blazer in traditional camel pinning down the silhouette over huge white cargo pants; a cropped cadet jacket laden with bullion embroidery paired with a chunky hand-knit; dark overcoats in the most traditional English materials layered over their exact twins in bright white technical fabrics.

Van Noten's quietly subversive streak was insinuated in the way technical details like snap closings and bonded linings were used on classically tailored camel and navy. An elegant double-breasted camel blazer was paired with his version of motorcycle pants, unzipping from waist to ankle. Unhinged elegance was also the theme of that oversize knitwear and the swaths of fur that defined coat lapels. But these flourishes also helped to emphasize the grandness of the clothes. If Van Noten wanted to convey something about heroic masculinity, he chose the right place. The Musée Bourdelle is filled with the majestic sculpture of Antoine Bourdelle, a student of Rodin's. And, of course, the hero of the hour's most famous song is called "Heroes."