The sensation of filing past the black-lipped, pale-skinned gatekeepers at Rick Owens' show is akin to that of gaining entry to a sect gathering. You sit down, a whoosh of dry ice fills the room, and there they are on the runway, Owens' bewimpled women in black, or, as he named them this time, the "Priestesses of Longing."

Somehow the vaporous ritualism of the beginning of Owens' show seemed to link up with the primitivism (cave people, tribalism, that sort of thing) that's emerging from the fashion ether this season. Still, it's not an idea to get too spooked by: As strange as the headgear and trash bag wrapped footwear may be on his runway, the clothes call to a far wider following than the members of a mere insider cult.

That may not be particularly obvious from the nude-paneled, back-baring halters and floppy all-in-ones that came at the start. But Owens' real secret is the fact that among the twists, turns, cutouts, and asymmetries of his (mainly) black bias-cut design, there's so much that's so wearable. With this collection, he filtered an almost old-school couture elegance into the mix: a jacket knotted into the torso, a high-waisted A-line coat, chic trumpet-leg pants, sleeves cut with jutting fins in the upper arm, and something that looked like a cross between a bandanna knot and a couture bow as closures.