Jason Wu has been pretty vocal about his desire to mature his uptown, polished look and redefine it in a sexier, edgier context. Sex appeal was the overt guiding principle of his spring and pre-fall collections, and the same could be said for fall, though Wu preferred to call the lineup “Extreme Femininity.” A few days before the show he said he “wanted to loop back to what I started on, the very thing I do, which is beautiful, very feminine clothes.” He did that, eventually, closing the show with a series of elegant gowns in draped point d’esprit georgette. The finale was a highlight, with two of the best looks featuring draped peplum tops — one red, one black — that cut away to float over stovepipe tuxedo pants. It played into the pants-for-evening idea that’s been floating around and would be nice to see actually take root in red-carpet reality.

Wu’s softness came after a significant statement in power daywear, which, while sophisticated and confident, had a hardness to it. Part of that was due to the colors he chose: black, white, red and a caramel color, with the final dress in violet. Showing sharply tailored outerwear with military and fur details in strict black and white underscored the glamorous aggression, as did the use of exaggerated white shirt collars. Lindsey Wixson in a black polka-dot dress, belted with a flounce at the waist and a thick, white fold-over collar, looked like a secretary with a secret.

Most appealing were the pleated cocktail dresses with leather details, bustier tops and filmy skirts, and a day look that paired a black crewneck with sheer stripes with pants in a marbled bonded wool. These struck a chic middle ground between his pretty beginnings and this newfound sex factor.

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