The concentration of thought in a Hussein Chalayan collection is such that it compels fixation on details. In today's presentation, for instance, the black patent insert on a crepe satin dress was intended to duplicate the sheen of lacquer in the dark. It was one facet of a collection that Chalayan called "an abstract take on Japan." Nothing literal, thank you, but more notions, such as the Japanese fetishization of packaging reenvisioned by the designer as diagonals of broderie anglaise wrapping the body like a gift.

All this was showcased in a film he directed. ("Much more work than a show," Chalayan said.) It was called Sakoku, a reference to Japan's deliberate policy of cultural isolation, which prevailed until the mid-nineteenth century, but as arcane as that framework may sound, it scarcely compromised clothes that embodied the designer's now-signature blend of intellectual rigor and appeal to the senses. You could see that, for instance, in the cotton voile dresses that burst out from under tailored waistcoats, or the pieces in a poplin so white it was practically clinical and that shimmered with inserts of translucent mesh.

Chalayan has an extraordinary legacy of his own work to draw on, so there were revisitings of old ideas. The distinctive curved shoulders were drawn from a 1998 collection. The color-blocking was also something he's done before, though its manifestation here—in combinations like pink, olive green, and black—was particularly striking. Chalayan's personal pick from the collection was a pink dress whose minimalism highlighted his technical proficiency (whereas a lot of details, he insisted, make it easier to hide mistakes). The fact that this dress was a sensuous complement to the female form was, of course, an added bonus. And it made one anticipate much more of the same from one of fashion's most radically underappreciated artists.