Fashion's obsession with the masculine/feminine thing goes back at least as far as the heydays of Yves Saint Laurent and Helmut Newton. And yet it never seems to get old—see any number of runways this season, from Michael Kors to Nina Ricci. But trust the Maison Martin Margiela team to put their own stamp on it. In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, windows open to a gorgeous breeze, the Maison show today wasn't so much boy-meets-girl as it was boy-meets-showgirl. Paris, Nevada, let's call it. Spangled briefs peeked from the top of low-slung men's pants, and a pink sequined bustier stood out against the black of a topcoat and trousers.

By rights, this should've felt predictable. But if it wasn't agenda-setting the way Margiela the man's collections could sometimes be, it didn't fail to charm anyway. That's mostly due to the excellent cut of the Maison's tailoring—an unassailable pair of pinstripe trousers, or a clever gilet that combined structure and flou. It's hard to make a real-world case for sleeves hacked off at the shoulders and suspended from the neck by grosgrain ribbons; no one wants to work that hard at getting dressed. But lapel-less coats in leather or brushed cashmere? Despite the mad bits of sequins worn underneath, they were utterly desirable. Replica pieces apparently re-created corsets and bustiers lifted from real circuses. They razzle-dazzled you. In the end, though, the masculine side of this story edged out the feminine.