That's right, the lady is a vamp. Such was the takeaway from today's Guy Laroche show, which found designer Marcel Marongiu putting a noirish spin on frank sex appeal. Marongiu's stated inspiration this season was Marlene Dietrich and her seductive and very womanly way of wearing men's clothing. For the most part, Dietrich's presence in this collection was subliminal—you caught her in the suiting emphasis, and in Marongiu's range of very polished aviator jackets. But the overall vibe here eschewed Dietrich's trademark insouciance in favor of a more straightforward and emphatic femme fatale aesthetic. Draped leather and camo-print dresses with forties silhouettes featured plunging V-necks and/or slits up to there. Tie-neck blouses came with high-drama, billowing sleeves and were paired with A-line trousers with legs for days. Color and texture, too, helped raise this collection's volume—Marongiu punctuated his black and navy looks with monochromatic ensembles in purple and fuchsia, and his most intriguing material here was a braided silk with the look of python. Insouciant, not so much.

And then there were the mesh dresses and the halters. Aside from Marongiu's iffy proposition that women wear leather or crystal halters plain, as tops, the really odd thing about this show was how many of the looks seemed to have wandered in from another collection entirely. The fuchsia ensembles, for example, had a clean look and sporty mien that were out of whack with the rest of the clothes, while the pieces in a black, rosette-textured technical fabric were winsome and romantic, and likewise felt out of place. Yet these were some of the stronger groups for Guy Laroche this season, which suggests that Marongiu would do well to ease up on his looks. A little intensity goes a long way.