Vivienne Tam spoke a lot about earthy 1970s luxury backstage before her Fall show. Somehow, though, it was her other inspiration, the ancient Chinese cave frescoes of Dunhuang, that came out feeling more au courant. References to Bianca Jagger circa Studio 54 are fairly rampant in womenswear, but Tam's Fall offering was more of a seventies allsorts; sure, there were soigné timeless looks (a fluttering, floor-length gray gown springs to mind), but there were also quite a few ensembles that felt costumey—even hot on the heels of American Hustle. It's debatable whether there are many women in the market for a long, T-neck peasant dress with sizable mandala embroidery or a top crafted almost solely from metallic crocheted lace appliqués. Happily, there were other pieces that felt more relevant and should please a wider audience, like a weighty boiled-wool coat in olive green that seemed to speak better to the cozy opulence Tam talked about. And her inaugural handbag offering was pleasant enough, if not revelatory, with classic, structured shapes and jewel-toned leathers.

As for the aforementioned journey into Dunhuang, some good came of that, too. The resulting abstract prints were dynamic and interesting, and didn't look too conspicuously like Patterns Inspired by Cave Paintings. They translated into some good frocks and one particularly lovely skirt in a rust-hued psychedelic. All told, it was a mixed bag, but not without its charms.