The secret's always out at Maison Martin Margiela. The jacket shows its hand. The project of the house is, in part, a debunking of fashion itself: Its need for newness, its embarrassment at its own artifice. Margiela valorizes the old and glamorizes the gears. The jackets that opened the line's Spring show were inside out, proudly displaying their trappings. Others happily showed their age, or more than their age. They seemed crinkly with years, mottled with rust.

The Maison long ago learned to turn the inevitable into the desirable. That's a neat trick, and the label's cut-and-paste approach to old pieces has, over time, produced much that was startlingly fresh. For Spring, too, there were great pieces cobbled from existing ones: the bottom half of jackets belted around the waist as kilt-like skirts; jumpsuits chopped in two; velvet dévoré dresses turned into evening scarf and vest trim, the way they would be at an artisanal couture show. The method is so well practiced that the fact that it produces smart bits of louche has become, in itself, somewhat predictable: "Another good Margiela rework? Ho-hum." It was tempting to fall into the trap. Better to appreciate what the label is doing. Count your blessings, and your inventory.