A squad of girls in print bikinis, angular closed-in visored sunglasses, and soft backpacks set off the Undercover show at a military clip. That was just the sort of strange sensation that Jun Takahashi's audience seeks, but in a flash, it was gone. After that, truth be told, the expectation of witnessing one of Takahashi's off-kilter creative subversions of fashion slowly drained from the room. Not that the show was bad, per se, but it was harder than usual to see what the designer was getting at. The girls that followed dragged out wheelie-bag luggage and toted handbags, wearing little dresses embellished with his familiar dark insignias: embroidered skulls and giant spiders implanted in necklines, and belts made of satin-stitched mouths, each showing a set of sharp, bared teeth.

As a brand-confirming exercise, it was sound, and for Undercover's devotees, there'll be plenty to buy—dresses and tops petaled like bird wings, tiny brocade prom dresses, and (if anyone's really going to go for this emerging trend du jour) a satin pajama suit. This time, though, Takahashi's brain-spearing oddness didn't quite hit the target in the way his fashion audience craves.