Elisa Sednaoui walked into the Palais de Chaillot this morning wearing a coat from Haider Ackermann's recent men's collection. With Ackermann, there has always been a symbiosis between masculine and feminine, but if he was touting his dandyism at his men's show in January, this women's collection was pulled way, way back. Here, he seemed to be reconsidering his signature sumptuousness; the jewel-tone colors and metallic sheen of silks along with the sheer tulles of last season were replaced by a palette of grays, taupes, and browns, and substantial menswear woolens like an oversize pied-de-poule. More evidence of Ackermann's new mind-set could be found in the ribbed knit of a slouchy sweater and matching pants, as well as the washed cotton sweatshirt material he used for zip-front jackets. Not that he's completely abandoned his more decadent instincts: Those hoodies were lined generously with fox fur. His "jeans," meanwhile, combined gunmetal python skin and olive green wool.

The restrained mood was cued by a soundtrack of Schubert's Piano Trio in E Flat from The Hunger. There's something quite haunting about that music, but it's stately, too, and that's a good way to think about Ackermann's new eveningwear. In the past, his gowns have often been more dishabille, the advisability of which was in serious question. Today there was a fairly chaste flash of skin on a long dress that married a tailored jacket above the waist to a bias-cut silk skirt. It was provocative, but retained its elegance. Ackermann did some hard thinking about his clothes this season; this was a canny evolution.