Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle got a shout-out in MaxMara's program notes, and the cult film's theme song, "Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves," played on the soundtrack. Movie buffs were bemused. There's a major disconnect between the smart, urban style of this Italian brand and Fassbinder's stylized adaptation of Jean Genet's homorerotic novel Querelle de Brest.

And yet, this was a strong outing for MaxMara, focused on the power suiting and outerwear for which it's known. Exaggerated volumes have become a big story for Fall, and the design team experimented with them here, slinging crocodile belts low across the back of great coats to create a blouson effect above them. Peacoats, likewise, had soft, cocoonlike shapes.

Querelle was a sailor, which explains the abundance of striped marinière tops and the military accoutrements that went with them. Swishy sailor pants in silk jersey and substantial jumpsuits in army green double-face cashmere landed on the plus side, but there's not much call for suspenders in a professional woman's life, nor for caps and ankle-to-knee leather spats. In the end, these were really just a styling trick, and they weren't bothersome enough to distract from the collection's great-looking coats.