Jun Takahashi took a breathtaking leap into the realm of chic and pretty for spring. "Undercover has been creatively a very dark thing," he said. "Now I wanted to make something beautiful for girls—without any dark side." Of course, Takahashi's move from hooded faces to absolute loveliness was executed with a sly touch. In a season of baby dolls, shirtdresses, nude-illusion paneling, pleating, glitter, fringing, and the return of sexiness, the designer took it all on, but—for the first time in this round of shows—articulated them with the authority of the young speaking to the young.

The soft and decorative techniques involved here—in short, flowy A-line ruffled georgette dresses, black tulle coats on lace shifts, plissé satin coats and fringed tunics over shorts—were stunning, especially from a Tokyo designer formerly categorized as a merchant of bobble-felted heavy-metal deconstruction. But that wasn't all. Added to the surge in Parisian finesse was a thoroughly convincing combination of eroticism and subversive playfulness. There were sheer panels floating over bras and lacy shorts, black stockings, and garters—stock come-on gear in other hands, but here they skewed cool. Why? You had to look even more closely to see the difference between Takahashi's girl and your normal leggy filly. Her cute bow tie is made of crossbones. Her glittery glove is fused onto her glittery clutch. Her necklace is a dog collar. And her extravagant evening cover-ups are smothered in satin whorls, made in the shape of skulls. Bravo. This is a collection that puts Takahashi firmly in the top rank of important new voices.