Once again Ruffo Research managed to inject a powerful dose of street smarts into an otherwise conventional Milanese fashion week.

Sophia Kokosalaki's second and final collection for the well-known leather house gave a lesson in strong femininity. Chocolate-suede dresses edged in black leather looked simultaneously sweet and deathly cool; savage-looking braided straps, odd bits of tulle and featherlike tufts of goat skin gave a primitive edge to perfectly cut tops. But Kokosalaki also proved that she can go for classic design—with an edge, of course. Her long leather coat stands out miles from the pack thanks to a simple diagonal row of buttons; a black leather blazer is decorated with a trompe-l'oeil lapel trim, and a sharp skirt reveals a teardrop of skin at the hips. Kokosalaki also scored a hit with several divine sheared shearling coats that put the softest of furs to shame.

With its sharp eye for recognizing and nurturing new talent, Ruffo Research is proving to be not only a powerful innovator in Italian fashion, but also a key label for insiders.