Jun Takahashi is an under-stater, and most certainly not an over-sharer. "Clothes for women" was his explanation of his collection backstage after today's runway show, his first after an absence of three years (he opted for presentations and private appointments in the interim). When pressed, the designer offered, "It's for women, very sophisticated and feminine. What women want to wear."

Certainly women want to wear trim camel coats, as they do skinny cardigans, leather skirts, sailor sweaters, chunky rib-knit tunics, and marabou-trimmed cocktail dresses. All of the above were present and accounted for, but Takahashi, even at his most game, won't ever offer them without subversion. What he did here—and what's he's done frequently over the course of his career—is trompe l'oeil in the truest sense. As you watch a model walk by, you're forced to sit up and pay attention to parse the familiar-seeming clothes with all their front-to-back split fabrics, zippers that dead-end in the middle of nowhere, and mash-up hybridizations. The mind wanders. And then, Oh, was that anorak made of drab chiffon with felt panels? Takahashi showed a few looks that echoed his droopy twin collection of Spring 2004, like a perfectly bourgeois beige coat over a tight-collared pink polo and gray trousers in flat fabrics, then a second version in a fuzzier texture. As if we need reminding that all isn't as it seems.

What was beautiful was a motorcycle jacket with a marabou trim unzipped at the bottom to give you the silhouette of a medieval pannier; ditto the Arabic-inspired floral motif rendered in felt appliqué. One thing's for sure, Takahashi's clothes are never easy to crack, but it's satisfying to try your hand when you see them on a runway.