There has been a lot of emphasis on craft this season, and so Ralph Rucci was entirely in his element at his first-ever ready-to-wear presentation in Paris. Jaws dropped at a braided leather jacket worn with hammered-satin pajama pants, a taffeta dress with a fitted bodice nipped and tucked from butter-soft alligator, and a gown covered in silver tinsel that swished like air rustling through trees as the model made her circuit of the Palais de Tokyo.

Sometimes, though, you can't help wishing Rucci would let his ideas fly, rather than hitching every one of them, however jaw-droppingly, to a demonstration of technique. While his fans among the ladies who lunch are legion, he hasn't yet quite managed to win over a broader audience, and it might help if he could loosen up just a little bit. A groovy young chick could certainly connect with a blue-black taffeta dress with a big bow at the waist or a chocolate feather-and-lace cocktail number from the second half of his show (made up of his couture pieces). It would be interesting to see Rucci extend his talents further in this direction.