The models at the Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti show entered and exited the runway by escalators on either end of the Grand Promenade inside Avery Fisher Hall. Ferretti said that she had designed the collection imagining futuristic clothes for a very chic researcher or academic, and the staging made you think of perfect ladylike androids on a conveyor belt.

There was a sort of sharp, clinical Gattica glamour in the HD-sharp silhouettes of skirt suits, shifts, and coats, many drawn in at the waist by clear Perspex belts. And there was, not surprisingly, a focus on technical fabrics. That's a direction that can easily go awry, like a shift dress with crystal beading all sandwiched in PVC or another entirely made from plastic-coated wool. (Be honest, when's the last time you wanted to wear plastic?) But there were some beautifully made and quite luxurious clothes that made the point more subtly: a lovely reversible coat made of ivory leather bonded with bouclé, for example, or another chic coat, created with a needle-punch technique, that seamlessly melded stripes of camel wool and mohair with a nubby tan bouclé.

Overall, it was more work than play. Philosophy is known for a good party dress, but there were few here. The many who loved last season's beaded twenties romp may find themselves slightly disappointed on this go-around.