Last season, for his second Halston collection, Marios Schwab did a 180, seeming to jettison his initial creative vision for something that suggested diligent study of the label's archives. Today's presentation most definitely followed suit. There were the expected lean, slinky cutout columns, Grecian draped cocktail dresses, and glamorous but minimally inclined sportswear. But the execution was uneven. Most of the gowns lacked energy, in some cases almost literally, with slightly wrinkled fabrics that appeared less than luxurious. The idea behind a sarilike asymmetrical chiffon number that exposed a jeweled bra would seem to be a decadent sexiness, but it felt limp, and a trio of sequined dresses cut in glow-in-the-dark fabric just seemed like a party trick.

What your eye was drawn toward was the chocolate brown grouping of daywear smack dab in the center of the triangular tableau vivant. A leather shirtdress, knotted at the waist, was the chicest and most expensive-looking thing in the room. But it wasn't enough to shoulder the burden.

For a label that's been through so many incarnations and designers, hewing to its core strengths seems logical enough. But considering the difference between Schwab's debut and today's presentation, it makes you wonder what exactly is transpiring behind the scenes. At any rate, it's too bad. In the midst of a major seventies moment, Halston could be fashion's reigning queen bee.