Riccardo Tisci has won his spurs as the kind of designer whose shows cause mob scenes backstage in Paris. The push-and-shove to congratulate him after his show almost brought down a dividing wall—and to be honest, there's not much of that old-school mania around these days. What triggered it was a collection Tisci described—among flashbulbs and kisses from French celebrities and LVMH executives—as "Western Bondage."

There is a thread of hard-core hip in Paris that is picking up that western theme and turning it in a glam-slam direction that flies in the face of recessionary caution. Christophe Decarnin at Balmain is in that posse, too, and there are parallels in London among grittier designers like Meadham Kirchhoff. At Givenchy, the look came out in full force two-thirds of the way in, when the leggings took over—half-leather chaps, half-jeans, or skintight black Lycra with white leaf appliqués flaming up the sides.

Admittedly, that's the kind of sight that may frighten the horses in a nervous retail period. Yet fashion also needs the young and the brave to stir things up, and anyway, Riccardo Tisci was careful not to go the whole hog here. His route to the American West has been followed gradually, via Mexico, where the gaucho/Catholic references from his much-acclaimed collection of last winter originated. Something of the lace (now shown veiled beneath semi-sheer dresses) and the frothy white shirts of that collection carried over into Spring, the shirts perked up with gold bows and diamanté brooches in the shape of sheriff's badges. As for the bondage? It was mostly left to crisscross openwork back views, which will presumably remain strictly "editorial." No chance that will be the case with the thigh-high cowboy boots, though. Crazed lines will be forming for those overnight, recession or no.