For Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Fritz Lang's Metropolis was their celluloid starting point for Fall. While the German expressionist classic informed both their signature collection and their younger-skewing Mark & James line (presented side by side today), its influence was most evident in the main collection's luxurious gowns.

Models with high-voltage hair (they looked like they'd put their fingers in sockets) immediately conjured up a dystopian-future mood, while the Deco beading and triangular insets on lean, snaking gowns evoked the film's angular architecture. Over the phone a few days before the show, the designers explained they created the palette—shades of burnished platinum, rose, and gold—based on what they thought the colors in the black-and-white film would have looked like.

While a rakish pajama set in gold lamé might have been better left in black and white, the heft still looked rich. Better were pants and vests in metallic tweed from the diffusion line that had a captivating sparkle. In response to customer feedback, the design duo pushed this season's Mark & James girl to a more sophisticated place than she's been in the past. Fans of both lines should be happy with the results.