For fall, Roberto Menichetti put his version of modernism to the test on the Milan runway. He applied himself to the task by showcasing the best high-tech fabric that Italian industrial expertise can produce: interesting, barely describable materials with crinkled, washed, iridescent surfaces, and the most malleable of leathers. The designer used these to best effect when he kept things simple, tailoring shapely jackets or a plain navy double-faced cashmere topcoat over wide slouchy pants. Those pieces, along with a few nicely judged cashmere Aran knits, successfully addressed the yawning gap that has opened in the market for updated sportswear.

The collection, however, lost coherence when Menichetti got conceptual, delving into overcomplicated paneled wrap skirts and lumpy chiffon and linen dresses. He'd do well to concentrate on answering the need for beautiful basics, rather than extending himself into the further reaches of avant-garde experimentalism.