Rick Owens, of all people, inspired by nuns? That, he said, was the thinking behind his spring collection, one that was clearly meant to prove he's capable of designing beyond his familiar (albeit very successful) traily, greigey layers of T-shirting and leather. The first jacket, with its winged effect springing from a puffy shoulder line, was presumably drawn from a mother superior's wimple. That was followed by shortie bloomers in heavy duchesse satin, carrying what looked like an extra skirt in front. Distantly related to a Cistercian robe? Maybe, but still utterly impossible to wear.

Given the change-hungry, unsparingly critical Parisian arena, Owens is right to move his aesthetic along. But there's always risk in change, and his first experiments with heavier, more-luxe fabrics were puzzling. Things were much better when he kept them light. His new palette, which included shades of pink, white, burnt orange, and cinnamon worked quite beautifully—especially the slim, bias-cut, vaguely thirties georgette dresses, nipped and tucked here and there for a hip sort of asymmetry. The sheer white tulle-stuffed bomber, and the delicate fan-pleating he pieced into some of his jackets and skirts, also brought in a new, even romantic, feeling. His ragged-edged shorts, cut like slouchy men's trousers, felt right for the season. But when they were worn by skinny youths who staggered perversely around in six-inch platform boots with a lot of white chest and hairy leg on show? Lord, help us!