Hussein Chalayan's shows are always an intellectual tour de force; this is certainly not a designer who strives to define the season's hemline or dictate what the new black is.

As usual, there were no obvious references in the show, which was held in an old studio where Alfred Hitchcock used to film. An orchestra played live as Chalayan showed a short film featuring computer-animated models whose dresses mysteriously shattered; real models followed, wearing spare topstitched suits that exposed a tailor's patterns, unfettered shifts with scribbles all around and sublimely pleated, voluminous skirts. A series of denim looks appeared clean and sober, as did an army-green miniskirt paired with a tab-collar jacket. Unexpected bursts of color included a coral pleated skirt and a sublime red print that showed up on several dresses.

Chalayan's dramatic finale tied up the masterful presentation, alluding to a theme that is often a leitmotif to his work: the impermanence of clothing. Six girls wafted onstage, three of them holding up tiny mallets, with which they proceeded to break to pieces their companions' paste dresses.