Corduroy isn’t exactly an evening go-to, but Johnny Talbot and Adrian Runhof embraced it for their Talbot Runhof fall collection — and with intriguing results.

The duo were inspired by a 2009 photo of a young man, standing next to a frumpy antigay activist, and holding up a sign that read “Corduroy skirts are a sin.” “He outed her fashion no-no,” Talbot said during the presentation at the label’s boutique. “We wanted to turn it into a fashion yes-yes.”

Corduroy is quite a rugged fabric, and some of the looks — a blouse in fine wale with a ball skirt in a thicker version; a burgundy trompe l’oeil dress with lace details — demonstrated a heavy hand. The softer interpretations worked a bit better, including manipulated tweeds loosely inspired by corduroy’s texture and a lamé corduroy lumberjack shirtdress that shimmered.