The creative spark for Kate and Laura Mulleavy's fifth collection wasn't the soaring sculpture of Constantin Brancusi, or the pastoral portraiture of Thomas Gainsborough, or any of the other lofty conceits they've conjured in the past. It was a work trip to Japan they took in connection with their recent collaboration with the Gap.

Admired for the exquisitely untouchable level of their workmanship—while also being criticized at times for its being so refined as to be unwearable—the sisters are, if not quite coming down to earth, at least expanding their reach. They crafted their own kind of Japonisme, incorporating manga and the films of Yasujiro Ozu. There were kawaii (cute) elements, too, like the almost comically fierce studded shoes and the colored hair extensions. They sent out a lot more separates than they had before (cobwebby sweaters, paired with lean pants, and sack jackets were standouts). And, for the first time, they actually did sexy, with lingerie looks and peekaboo.

The show came to a dramatic end when two young men in suits appeared on the runway and opened a freight elevator to reveal a trio of models in goddess gowns. These were as lovely as any Rodarte has shown, but they weren't news. What was, was the sisters¿ intriguing effort to expand their oeuvre.