Monique Lhuillier does "pretty" very well, but for Fall she wanted to give her collection a darker edge. "A bold, dramatic twist," was how she described it. To achieve that, she looked to a foreboding reference: the skull. Although in general, Lhuillier's skulls were so subtle one would have to be told they were there to catch them. Look closely enough, and they could be found in the embroidery of a gold lace bolero, which was paired with a matching strapless cocktail dress, as well as a lace-and-tulle mini that went from white to Barbie pink at the collar.

The skull was more obvious on a digitally printed neoprene dress. In that case, the rendering wasn't lovable, but the silhouette—a high neck and a bell sleeve with a midi trumpet skirt—was. Worn with a pair of current-looking mules, it would have fared better in plain black. Indeed, Lhuillier's LBD—a fitted, mid-calf style with a slight sweetheart neckline—blew away her grander gowns. The ball-skirt styles—black, embroidered with fuchsia baroque flowers—will please her loyal eveningwear customers, but the real red-carpet standout was a blush-colored beaded number with long, sheer sleeves and a high-low hem. It was pretty, yes, but worn with little blush lace booties of Lhuillier's own design, it was also irresistible. And the designer knew it. "I had to throw one angel in there," she said.