c.2014 New York Times News Service

c.2014 New York Times News Service

Let it be said at the start that, for sheer spectacle, it would be hard to top Opening Ceremony’s first show last season, which sent models in muscle cars careering onto a pier-side catwalk. (Justin Bieber and Rihanna were among the appreciative crowd.)

This season’s Opening Ceremony show Sunday night was a comparatively modest affair — where comparatively means “only” 2,000 pounds of chocolate melting down runway-bordering walls.

The designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have been spending time in Belgium, the most recent “guest country” whose native labels they’ve imported to their multibrand Opening Ceremony stores, and their trips to Antwerp inspired their own collection as well. Belgium is one of the world capitals of chocolate; hence, that bubbling bit of scenography. This kind of free association is typical of Leon and Lim, who take a fast and loose approach to the often self-serious business of presenting fashion. If it feels good, do it, seems to be their working MO. (Here you could also add, “if it smells good.” Unsurprisingly, vat after vat of cooking chocolate does.)

The collection itself also zipped, literally and figuratively, this way and that. Some bits were modular, offering zip-up or -down adjustments according to the whim of the wearer; others seemed to have a life of their own, like the skirts that flowed asymmetrically around one side of the body. Taken together, they made for a rather complicated silhouette.

An actual Belgian, Olivier Theyskens, took a cleaner tack on Monday. Theyskens, the artistic director of Theory, once had his own separate collection under the aegis of the label, known as Theyskens’ Theory. But this winter, the company made the decision to streamline all theories into one Theory.

It effectively streamlined Theyskens’ work, too. Previously he often attempted for a conceptual but casual look, an odd marriage of his previous experience at European houses like Nina Ricci and Rochas and the sales-floor realities of his present appointment.

Theory at its heart (and, as important, in its stores) is a contemporary collection designed to be approachable. You would hear anecdotal complaints that the most exciting runway pieces never seemed to wind up in the shop. It is easier to believe that some of the ones in this show will make it there more or less intact.