Sally LaPointe's clothes certainly have a moody edge. But they've become less dramatic, and in turn more beautiful, as she sharpens her point of view. For Fall, she started with Charles Bukowski's poem "Bluebird," taking the writer's words literally and figuratively. LaPointe's idea, culled from the context of the poem, was to show that there was "a delicacy within even the harder-edged pieces," she said backstage after the show.

The designer's personal style is a little goth, and her clothes can read that way too. But other than a bomber made from pirarucu fish skin—an odd material to try, sure, but it had a nice feel—there was little of that hard edge LaPointe spoke of. Instead, the strength was found in the precise tailoring, whether it was a pair of black tuxedo trousers in silk-wool georgette, a pencil skirt in cognac-colored lambskin, or an elegant black cocktail dress overlaid with a cropped top that was pleated at the bust. These are the kinds of clothes that make a confident woman look even surer of her appearance.

The literal interpretation came in the form of a bluebird print, engineered by the tattoo artist Needles. LaPointe used it on a long, ivory silk-wool skirt and the finale number: a black bustier gown. It was also embroidered on the back of a wool overcoat in a soothing lavender-gray color that LaPointe is calling ice.

This was also a collection of firsts. Along with a fish-skin clutch, LaPointe introduced knits. It's surprising that she hasn't gone there before, mostly because they were so good. The chunky cashmere-wool turtlenecks—some plain, others with panels of fox fur—sort of pooled at the wrist and hip for a slouchy, deliciously cozy look.

Was this a breakthrough collection for LaPointe? Given that she envisions her woman as "powerful, but still feminine," it certainly felt like it. LaPointe designs for the luxury customer, and the collection had a worth-the-price feel.