"It takes a long time to grow into who you are," Daniel Silver said today, just before he and Steven Cox debuted their first designs for women, alongside another collection of the peerless, provocative clothing that has made Duckie Brown New York's most consistently interesting—and under-celebrated—menswear label. They named their presentation The Duckie Has Two Faces, the latest in their inside-joke plays on the titles of Streisand movies, and an obvious nod to the gender mix on the catwalk. If Silver's words suggested that the move into womenswear somehow completed them, the fact is that Duckie Brown has always had two faces: scally lad and Savile Row gent, extreme and elegant, butch and femme. Cox's technical skill has alchemized the opposites beautifully. That much was made perfectly clear on the catwalk today, with a huge amount of help from a soundtrack that mixed Vivaldi and hardcore electronics. So maybe Silver was right after all.

But even with the collection done, Cox confessed he was frightened to do womenswear, possibly because he wasn't prepared to do anything so obvious as to simply repurpose menswear for women. "We focused on not doing that," he said firmly. "We wanted to make clothes for women, not girls." The distinction was important, because Duckie's menswear has often had a quirkiness that reads as boyish, even more so when counterpointed by the gimlet-eyed confidence possessed by the women in today's show. One stellar male ensemble matched an MA-1 bomber jacket in cyclamen with gigolo-tight pants in midnight silk and evening slippers (the men's shoes throughout). Adam the model was a skinhead with a thousand-yard stare. The mix of feyness and menace—fop and hooligan—felt like Cox's ideal match. It was the essence of the men's clothes, which used elaborate tweeds and rich silks for hoodies and trackies, and layered such classically masculine pieces as a peacoat or donkey jacket over narrow silk pants. For women, Cox collaged a Crombie out of pell-mell intarsia, or elongated a T-shirt or sweatshirt into a surprisingly elegant dress (the fabric did the heavy lifting). And he cut some supremely elegant pleated pants.

And if that sounds like the womenswear was distinctly straightforward in comparison with the menswear? It was. The short-over-long proportion play that is a Duckie signature was in full effect for the boys, with blousons over coats (the effect was skirtlike) over trousers. When the blouson was tweed, the skirt was cyclamen pink and the trousers were Chinese red; it nibbled at the confident excess of eighties couture. Cox had actually been looking at the couture of Charles James (before the Met announced its upcoming exhibition, he hastened to add). The blue silk evening coat that closed the show was his subtle salute. In comparison with such spectacular follies, "straightforward" couldn't help but look a little tentative. Still, given the glorious indignities Cox and Silver have inflicted on menswear in the past, the girls of the world should feel slightly relieved that Duckie's womenswear debut let them down so gently.