You knew Manish Arora was up for helming Paco Rabanne from the first look out, in which he tackled the iconic Do-It-Yourself Rhodoid dresses of 1966 head-on. His version is made with a digital body scan to fit like a glove. No single square of silvery painted python is the same shape as the next. "I asked, 'How can I make this for today?' " said Arora backstage. "It's now very comfortable, much lighter, and flattering on a woman's body."

Still, Arora, whose own aesthetic is colorfully maximalist, camp, and futuristic, is nothing if not a showman. He asked Philip Treacy to do flying saucer hats and Nicholas Kirkwood for crystal-encrusted shoes. The theme was light, and Arora's archly feminine dresses with exaggerated hourglass waists and sharp shoulders were pure science fiction in flashing iridescent metallic organzas, linked plastics, and paillettes. Some rippled with beads that looked like fiber optics. More than anything, the silhouette actually recalled Mugler, the Thierry variety.

How all of this will translate to a fashion business for Paco Rabanne isn't entirely clear, though there were some incongruously simple studded totes on the runway in addition to a clutch that looked like a robotic porcupine. What's clear is that Arora has the spirit and energy down pat, making this an interesting appointment. His finale was a series of fanlike, pleated, metallic-looking dresses that resembled huge cupcake wrappers and were made of paper, a material Rabanne also famously used. "There are a lot of similarities between Paco Rabanne and my brand, like the craftsmanship," said Arora. "The way he made clothes in the sixties was incredible. When I went to the archives, I looked at them and said, 'OK, this is me.' "