Terrific coats, ranging from trenches to military greatcoats to scallop-edged furs were at the heart of some of the standout collections for fall. Beautiful evening looks were part of the action, too.

Dolce & Gabbana: Napoleon Bonaparte — emperor, egoist, good-looking guy in a frock coat. And what a way with the ladies. On that point at least, he has kindred spirits in Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who became smitten with him after reading Stefan Gläser's book, "Frauen Um Napoleon (Napoleon's Women)." They were so taken with it that they decided to use it as their fall inspiration, no doubt elated by the possibilities for the gender play they love. The result: a delightfully bold, flamboyant affair.

Perhaps also inspired by their man-muse, the designers waxed a bit political before the show. "Femininity is power," Dolce declared. And if they could express that yin and yang might in precision piping and grandly buckled boots on one hand, and oh-so-ethereal embroideries on the other, what feminist babe wouldn't join the cause?

The set, an elaborate carousel constructed of gleaming metal pillars, was supposed to resemble a life-sized jewelry box. (Power trip be darned. Women, according to Gabbana, "are true jewels.")

The show opened with some major construction, flashing enough highfalutin military regalia to win back Waterloo. Truth be told, it bore some trappings of a costume fete — all brass-buttoned, gold-bullioned and cutaway. But then, these designers place no premium on subtlety when working a motif. Besides, the goods looked great: coats in cashmere, rich skins, weighty silks and wools; jackets in ostrich, velvets and fur, some feather-trimmed. And one can assume any girl not ready to ship out in her gussied-up admiral's breeches can find dressed-down duds in pre-fall.

As for Josephine's side of the story, a few rich-toned velvet dresses, belted high in that essential Empire way, segued into the finale of spectacular eveningwear — 13 gowns crafted from silks, feathers, beads and 46 archival Lesage embroideries. Despite their gentility, each was a high-impact stunner. In other words, perfect, because, just like Josephine, Dolce & Gabbana's girls like to be noticed — especially at night.

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