Barbie dolls. Betty Draper. Pink. Unlikely suspects for a Cushnie et Ochs mood board, perhaps, but there was a dark humor bubbling underneath. One of the Barbies had been aged, and Betty Draper was wielding a shotgun, picking off her neighbor's pigeons. As for the pink? "We do like color," Carly Cushnie insisted the day before the show.

Mining childhood fantasies, the designers landed on this season's riff on modern housewives. A white picket fence, in neon, marked the start of the runway, and attenuated dresses came out in bright solids—pink, canary yellow, white, camel, and black. Paired with matching shoes, the pink and yellow looks read a touch costumey, but that styling misstep could be forgiven in light of the fine tailoring. Geometric cutouts, several of which drew all eyes to the décolletage, transformed little white dresses into sexy space-age wear, something a fembot might don for some provocative dusting.

Peplums were a common element, most notably a pair of gleaming metal ones that reflected the mirrored surfaces of buttons on the back of a sheer blouse. But the best look had no hard edges: A white eyelet skirt with serious flounce and matching top was girly yet subversive. We already knew that Cushnie and Michelle Ochs can do dark and incendiary—it was nice to see them playing with dolls.