"It's a conversation between man and woman, between boldness and fragility," Stella McCartney said of her energetic Spring collection backstage. "The Stella woman is a mix of those elements." And has been since the very beginning. As a young Central Saint Martins graduate in the late nineties, McCartney made a fast impression with her Savile Row-inflected suits and lace-edged slipdresses. Her work these days, of course, is much more nuanced than that early outing, but it connects with her customers because it gets them where they live.

The designer played with two central conceits: oversize tailoring and delicate yet still sporty dresses. The tailoring side of the dialogue featured jackets with the bolder shoulders we've seen on other Paris runways, or boxy cuts belted low in back to create blouson silhouettes. Pants were loose and long or full and cropped above the ankle. An organza tracksuit was a reminder of her Olympic summer.

McCartney is a hitmaker. This fall, it's been that patchwork tweed cheerleader dress, and the season before it was those clingy mosaic-print minidresses with the arabesques of white embroidery at the neckline. Among this season's plissé organza numbers with graphic splashes of bright color, the winner was a racerback style worn by Anja Rubik, its royal blue mille-feuille organza embroideries bisected by a transparent panel at the midriff. See-through sheers were a constant motif, from the clear plastic minaudières all the way down to the models' easy-to-walk-in Lucite platforms. Like we said, she gets us where we live.