Eccentric tomboys and twisted bourgeois matrons—they've been the mean motivators of Alessandro Dell'Acqua's career. Take the first outfit today for No. 21: a dress in camel mohair, a coat in floral sequins, a fifties flat shoe—a bit bourgeois, a lot florid. It was enough to make you wonder where the Dell'Acqua woman hangs. Hopefully in some schizophrenic zone where all styles are served with maximum happiness.

Dell'Acqua has always straddled the shadow zone between prude and prurient. A sense of pent-up passion infuses everything he does. Here there were instances of wayward slouch, see-through brassiness, and the single-shouldered hussy. But Dell'Acqua has always balanced his bad girls with a strong, masculine element: today, a loden coat, a khaki sweater, gray flannel pants, dour cardigans. A sequined top and feathered skirt were weighted with a man-tailored flannel coat. Think, for a moment, about the implications of such an outfit. That signal was amplified by the peculiar harnesses that were thrown over a lot of the outfits.

The story that Dell'Acqua was telling here might have been the time-honored fashion tale of dominance and submission. It's one he's long been fascinated by, a fact he reminded us of when he closed the show with his signature track, Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield."