Ulyana Sergeenko, the Russian couture collector and street-style star turned designer, put on a runway show smack dab in the middle of Chanel and Armani Privé today, and had the kind of front row that other up-and-coming designers dream about: Carine Roitfeld, Grace Coddington, and a coterie of her own high-spending countrywomen, who gave Sergeenko a standing ovation when she came out for her bow. Her pal Elena Perminova was actually wearing a variation on one of the looks on the catwalk. Not a bad business plan—the Russian crowd is obsessively photographed on the streets outside the shows. Inside the Théâtre Marigny, there was more than a handful of young women wearing what has become Sergeenko's signature look: clingy sweater tucked into a fifties-style full skirt, some extending all the way to the ground.

And there was more of that on the runway, as well as Russianisms like military great coats lined in fur and chintz apron dresses, plus street-style bait like a puff-sleeve turtleneck top and matching bloomers. The accessories—babushkas, hand-carved wooden heels, big fur hats and gloves—put the accent on the designer's heritage. Natalia Vodianova, the Russian supermodel, closed the show in a floor-sweeping black coat and flower-embroidered tulle veil. "Bellissima," Anna Dello Russo crowed backstage afterward. Sergeenko is a storyteller, but if she wants to break through to a wider audience, she'll eventually need to curb the fairy tale.