Having shifted his main collection to a slot during Paris's couture week, Yohji Yamamoto has deputized his secondary line, Y's, to represent him at the ready-to-wear shows. That didn't deter his audience, which was sitting up straight, pens poised, raring to see what new crimp the great innovator would be putting on the season. How about gauzy, droopy white knits and what looked like sweaters, dangling upside down from suspenders, worn as pants?

Legs in sleeves notwithstanding, Yamamoto’s floating, A-line asymmetries had the easy, nonaggressive air that has characterized his work from the beginning. Yet as model after model in neutral, wrinkled layers of crispy knit and floppy satin kept wandering down the runway, it became clear that there was not a lot of incisive new thinking going on. Things perked up when he sent out a shot of intense red washed satin, and a gentle version of the season’s shirt-dressing theme; otherwise, underwhelming was the word for it. Sure, Yamamoto is being realistic in showing his accessibly-priced collection now. But in the Paris spotlight, the world still expects more from him than a routine dilution of house standards.