For Julien David, it always starts with fabrics. "I was interested in pieces that were fluid, transparent, and lightweight, and mixing them with other, more textured materials—things with a hairy, woolly quality," he said backstage. That dichotomy could've set up a compelling push-pull, but the sheer stuff didn't quite measure up to David's more substantial materials. The polka dot–embroidered mesh, for instance, only served to obscure what was one of his best ideas: a paparazzi print of camera-wielding photographers and cartoonlike flashes of light that he cut into blouses and cropped pants. If he hadn't skipped the mesh overlay on one button-down, you would've missed the clever print entirely. David has a real eye for pattern, and it would be good to see him develop his prints more in the future.

One signature that he did deliver on: coats. Hooded down puffers with contrast printed panels in front had a serious cool factor. David accessorized a black-and-gold version with his first-ever handbag, which his program notes proudly announced was made in France. David develops most of his fabrics at a mill in Japan, where he lived before launching his label in Paris two years ago. The most interesting material he came up with for Fall was a shaggy wool that lent a quirky feel to a classic, almost couture-ish tailleur. He described his woman this season as "a well-educated girl who went out on her own and got a wild side." The collection he dreamed up for her didn't feel quite resolved, but there were some good pieces for his retailers to get excited about.