Rather than articulate a theme, Martine Sitbon preferred to describe her imagined muse for the season. "She's a bit more androgynous and she has a strong attitude," said the designer. "But at the same time, she prefers something softer." In essence, the answer to "What do women want?" is "Everything." (Chris Rock would have a field day.) But somehow the Parisienne traverses that divide with more agility—the hard coexisting peacefully and stylishly with the soft. In no-nonsense black and white, Sitbon's variegated knits looked cozy but telegraphed the idea of protection. A shift in crafty macramé lace and laser-cut bouclé was armorlike but quite chic. A fab full-sleeve trenchcoat had black lapels running the length of it that were belted open to create a kind of barrier that looked nearly bulletproof.

When women want to feel strong, sporty streetwear is a sure route. Sitbon upped the ante on hers, putting raglan sleeves on a loden bouclé coat with a subtle hit of Lurex, and creating her version of the varsity jacket skirtsuit—a ripple from last Fall's Tisci stone toss—in a silk watercolor print with crocheted collar and cuffs. For pure softness, Sitbon—a master frockmeister—knows it's all about a dress. But most girls would race past the ones pieced in satins that tried to have it all, and head straight for the jewel-hued chiffon beauties with open smocking that closed the show. They're the kind of bohemian Sitbon special that make a good percentage of the female population go gooey, and sometimes that is everything.