Backstage before her show, Martine Sitbon explained that although her Fall collection was a collage of various references ("Some of the twenties, forties, sixties," she said), its overarching theme was trompe l'oeil. What is it about designers of both today and yesterday that makes them want to trick their clientele's eyes—and eventually bring them in on the stylish joke, then help them in perpetrating the same? Well, aside from being a potential conversation piece, at least for today, it's a way to capitalize on the multitude of fabric innovations at hand.

Dresses are Sitbon's comfort zone, so most of her visual sleight of hand was channeled into those. She began with an almost waffle- textured woven jacquard that mixed it up seamlessly with a sort of homey-looking honeycomb mohair knit on body-hugging midi dresses—a silhouette that's spot-on for right now. These were interesting theoretically, if a bit clunky in execution. Some of the best pieces, however, came last. Sitbon referenced her own use of velvet dévoré with actual Art Nouveau motif cutouts. A couple had a beautiful stained glass effect. When it came to tailoring, the trickery was to take the stuffing out of evening jackets by flattening collars and pockets into insets. "It's like a cardigan," said Sitbon.

Curiously, when it came to the best dresses in this collection—the naughty-chic sheer bright ones striped with pintucked seams and dotted with little chiffon rosettes—the jig was up. They weren't simple in construction, but they didn't incorporate illusions, either. The only trick here? Perhaps luring a romantic interest with your sartorial siren call.