Get this: Diesel had a runway show and not a single blue jean was included.

"We have a lot of blue denim in Diesel, so it's not necessary to go down this way—everybody knows we have this," Sophia Kokosalaki, Diesel Black Gold's creative director, explained backstage. That's a bold move, but one that made for a compelling show. Kokosalaki subbed dark, dusty colors for the indigo blues, and, for the most part, leather for the denim. (It's central, she says, to the company DNA, and owner Renzo Rosso agrees.) And when Jacquelyn Jablonski tromped out in the first look—a cognac-colored leather jacket with a peplum and a thigh-grazing mini made of sewn-together leaf-like scraps that looked like nothing so much as a cowhide hula skirt—oh, brave new world!

Where that world is remains to be seen. Kokosalaki mentioned the desert inspired the palette she chose (caramels and cognacs, coppery greens and corals, sands and stones). Judging from the ratty bouffants the ladies wore, I'd say a desert island—and not one with a comb. But as styled by Marie-Amélie Sauvé, the collection had an appealing savagery and ingenuity both. The leather pieces emphasized handwork and craftsmanship, whether they were embossed, painted, appliquéd, or tied. (A few too many ties, come to think of it.) "Sometimes it was really intense, really couture style," Kokosalaki said. Well, if you were marooned at sea, you'd certainly have time to ply your craft.