If you walked past someone on the street wearing a full Aganovich look for fall, she would catch your eye. Maybe you'd notice the toothy shape of her upturned, elongated collar. Or the diagonal satin pleating spliced into her redingote. You might conclude she has some attachment to the past—certainly to period-style dressing—and on this count, you would be correct. Designer Nana Aganovich dresses this way herself and looked to 19th-century magicians for her latest collection. She referenced their formal costumes with a mix of oversize white piqué shirting and black vests, several with swooping hemlines. The ivory and noir brocades that dominated the show came from an old British tiemaker who descended from the Huguenots. The final dress—asymmetric, sliced open up the thigh—was accessorized with a top hat, placed slightly askew.

Yet for all these obvious (often overworked) allusions, there were some interesting illusions that spoke to Aganovich's skill in the nonmagical art of cutting and sewing. Most of the jackets and shirting featured interior snap closures—as close as the designer could get to invisible. The sleeves of a silk crepe jacket were tacked at the elbows like permanent creasing. And tailored pieces that at first appeared generously proportioned were actually suiting facades with billowy backs. All this legerdemain results in a theatricality that attracts a particular crowd—and to be sure, it's not for everyone. Which is why a handful of cloak-style coats in solid black wool (all shown with boot-cut leggings) stood out most of all; the period details had been pared back and they felt believably modern. Now if only Aganovich could see this herself.