Miguel Adrover's spring/fall 2005 collection started out like gangbusters, right from the first look—a navy suit tailored with the precision for which he's known. That was followed by more classic suitings and then two lovely gowns, one in a woolly windowpane, another in ribboned chiffon. The show could have stopped there; Adrover, in about five looks, had demonstrated his talent. But the show went on—and on, and on, for almost 90 more looks.

It's not that he didn't have a story to tell; this season, the narrative-loving designer explored the glories of the Old West, from the cowboys and Indians, the beauty of native craft, even the cost of imperialism, and put it on the runway with a powerful (if excessively long) fusion of design, styling, and music. Adrover has always been passionate about his craft, experimenting with odd materials and unexpected volume, and this season he showed that skill in an expertly balanced quilt-front skirt, and a smocked and pleated gingham dress. He can also do straight sportswear—as seen in the totem suits, duster coats, and trenches. But just as the show wound down, the designer himself walked out in a T-shirt printed with "Anyone see a backer?", and the thread of the tale was broken. As much as he embraces American culture, Adrover's always positioned himself as an outsider with no desire to play the fashion game; with talent like his, let's hope there's a happy ending in his future.