Once again, the Sonia Rykiel show played out within a deliberately dim venue. This may have suited the Fall collection's PG-13 call-girl theme, but it felt less fitting today, with clothes that begged for light. Geraldo da Conceicao's show notes did refer to this latest Rykiel reincarnation as "a creature of the dusk," but the loosely interpreted argyle pattern and generously proportioned knit tunics summoned up girls strolling a bygone boardwalk, not the Sunset Strip.

Oppositional color accents of sky blue and peach or limeade and rose gave the collection a freshness that would have occurred to Madame Rykiel back in the day. She attended today's show, but we weren't sitting close enough to her to gauge her reaction. The likability of the stretch pencil skirts flecked with metallic yarn is not in question. And the floral pattern shown inside out had an updated Art Nouveau appeal. But the suiting attempts fell flat—quite literally: From the back they hung without much shape. Cute color-trimmed ankle socks couldn't rescue the forced fluted heels. And furry two-tone stoles overwhelmed the final grouping of slipdresses, making it impossible to see whether they had been cut well or not.

Da Conceicao has many skills under his floppy striped hat (shhh, it wasn't Rykiel), but brand direction is a work in progress. Before the show, he said he wanted the collection to be "special casual"—an idea that dovetails with the Rykiel DNA. The designer also explained that his lamé knitwear comes alive in artificial or restricted light. This would explain the dimness. Now the label must ensure it doesn't fall out of the spotlight.