For Ennio Capasa, rockabilly is not only the roots of rock 'n' roll, it also stands for the energy of change, which ought to make it a usefully stimulating reference point for a fashion designer. In today's Costume National show, it was the oldies—or at least, the pieces that most closely referenced the rockabilly gear of an aeon ago—that were the goodies. Like a little micro-checked short-sleeved shirt with black lapels where a collar should be. Or that same style done in black with matching trousers, which was almost an ingeniously casual revamp of a tuxedo. Even the sole color accent—an eye-popping vermilion—registered like the red the teds wore to fire up their monotone, especially when it was trimmed in black.

Red aside, Capasa opted for a color palette that was dun and dusted in shapes that emphasized the deconstructed. The result erred on the drab, downbeat side, which was a pity, because there was actually a lot going on behind the scenes (or rather, inside the seams). Capasa is an arch fashion technologist. An early adopter of the needle-punching technique, he's already moved on to ultrasound, which is used in sails to create seamless, unsplittable seams. It made for a lighter garment, useful when you're toying with multifunction as Capasa did in this collection when he reversed a nylon bomber into a cotton blazer.