Backstage Olivier Theyskens was talking about futurism. If it didn't look, as he put it, comfy enough to wear overnight in a spaceship, it didn't make it onto the runway. The collection was hardly as extreme as Theyskens' characterization might suggest—in fact, the vibe here was resolutely down-to-earth—but the designer did borrow ideas like quilting from spacesuits, and he gave his shift dresses so much volume in the back that they practically floated.

Theyskens has been at Theory now for over two years, but certain fashion types still get wistful thinking about his Paris days at Nina Ricci and Rochas. The one guy who's not nostalgic for ball gowns and couture, it would seem, is Theyksens himself. He's done a lot of thinking about how young women dress every day, and if there's one thing that he believes in at the moment, it's that "you don't have to look sexy to feel confident." By extension, you don't have to try so hard to look sexy. For Fall, he likes the look of oversize, but the slouchy tailoring he started with at Theory is long gone. An elongated jacket with a high notched collar transmitted an authority that wasn't compromised by the shorts with which it was paired. Wide-leg pants in a curly knit had an off-hand, "I couldn't care less" cool.

When you get right down to it, pieces like those aren't so much futuristic as they are classics, with little Theyskens twists. Ribbed knit sweaters look like the kind of thing the TT girl wants to wear these days; same goes for a rabbit fur sweatshirt. With all of the shorts and flippy minis the designer showed, his chunky-heel, knee-high boots got a lot of runway time. He has a hit on his hands with those, which is not something to be underestimated. Still, a number of us left the show wanting something bigger.