Once upon a time, Victoria Beckham would've been the last designer you'd expect to embrace menswear. But coming up on the fifth anniversary of her business, she's more than just a resource for a sexy, skintight frock. Come July, when Fall collections land in stores, hers will be a name to keep in mind for great coats. To convey that point, she put them at the beginning of her show this morning at the New York Public Library. The best came in a checked tweed on top and Yves Klein blue pony hair below the hips, but she also showed one in a simpler allover plaid for traditionalists. YSL-inspired smokings, meanwhile, were already prevalent on the Spring runways, but Beckham made a strong case for hers, cutting it with capelike slit sleeves. And when she reinterpreted that smoking as a coat, she put it in the running for best black-tie look of the week.

Among the other developments, Beckham is feeling for color—not just indigo but also sunny yellow. A color-blocked intarsia turtleneck in yellow and black was her first crack at knitwear. The real surprise here, though, was her embrace of longer lengths. "I like to ask myself how would I wear something, then I turn it on its head," she said, alluding to the fact that more often than not she's in an above-the-knee skirt herself. Truth is, longer lengths are happening elsewhere, but that doesn't diminish the appeal of the cement gray felt number she showed with a taupe silk blouse and Manolo Blahnik-designed kitten-heel booties. All in all, a convincing evolution of the VB brand.