Just when we thought we had the Marni girl down as a sunny second-generation flower child, a hoarder of pretty bright prints and bonkers haberdashery accessories, she turns sober on us. For fall, she seems to have entered a fugue mood, which, in a way, is understandable, considering the general drift toward grayness in the fashion weather this season. On the other hand, black, brown, navy, shades of beige, and (yes) gray aren't naturally the colors that suit her playful character, and that cast a cloud over this collection.

Marni's deliberately imprecise cut, curvilinear volumes, gathered egg-shaped skirts, and three-quarter-length sleeves, as well as the homemade fifties dressmaker quality of the clothes haven't changed. That will be enough to please the ever-increasing band of international followers who've hooked up to the ragtag nouvelle vague Marni caravan. But designer Consuelo Castiglioni hasn't altered her simply belted, regular-looking fur coats either, and that's more problematic. Marni started off as a pioneering revivalist in that category, but a sense of creative standstill added to the impression that the collection as a whole is marking time. Even the solid, sensible slingback platforms and leather bags, now shorn of their dangly doodads, added to the general sense of downbeat calm. It was perfectly fine, but when next spring comes, the girl needs to start moving cheerfully on.