Jean-Charles de Castelbajac called his collection Fire on Ice, and invoked Iceland as the magical land of volcanoes that spawned Björk. It resulted in something enchanted and tribal, with a sometimes heavy-handed avian motif that the designer juiced up with primary comic-book colors.

There was evidence of the upgraded sensibility de Castelbajac professed last season, particularly in fifties couture standards. He opened the show with an elegant boxy sheath top recast in yellow neoprene and graphically printed with arcs of eagle wings. A black silk kimono cocktail coat was printed on the back with an erupting volcano, and a little wool skirtsuit had an ombré effect that approximated falling ash.

The merger of de Castelbajac's good behavior and his more antic side is still in its early stages, so it's understandable that it isn't always smooth. You're just not sure what to do with something like a perfectly fine charcoal tweed suit that has a cartoon eagle head on each shoulder. Other things made more sense: A rain slicker covered in massive patch pockets would be a staple for a JCDC acolyte, and you could envision a head-obscuring dress appliquéd with volcanic flame in a Lady Gaga video. A high point of the middle ground: an elongated wing-print varsity jacket—a cute spin on the new fashion staple.

De Castelbajac is a showman, which made the live performance of an entire song by the orchestral folk act Woodkid before a single model exited OK. But 56 looks pushed the boundaries of patience. A zippier edit might have added some fairy dust to de Castelbajac's magic.