"The rough taste of stripped-down couture"—that was the proposal made by Ter et Bantine's show notes. And, though it sounded unappealing, it actually came close to nailing the curious essence of this label. Manuela Arcari's attention to cut means that her silhouettes have a striking rigor. She uses substantial fabrics like gazar silk, canvas, and duchesse cotton, which hold those silhouettes. And she strips away any superfluous detail until all that is left is the bare essentials.

This season, there was an even stronger feeling that Arcari's priority is utility over femininity. Her ruffles were simply the unfrilliest version you've ever seen. Her shoes were either ballet pumps or a kind of sock-cum-boxing-boot. Closings consisted of press studs. There were no waistbands on the hip-slung skirts—they just snapped shut. And yet, when paired with one of Arcari's cropped tops, the look had a severe sensuality. It was the same thing with her graphic effects, particularly the metallic stripes printed on silk. In fact, rough and stripped-down translated in the designer's hands into something a little fierce, a little confrontational, but with the absolute courage of its convictions. Like the invitation with its un-PC smoking cigarette, and the models with their eyebrows combed into tough little tufts, Ter et Bantine doesn't give a damn what you think.