This season, Veronica Etro looked at sixteenth-century art and textiles to give a flavor to a collection that always calls to women with an eye for rich mixes of pattern and a taste for nonaggressive, romantic clothes. Boho may be out of fashion for the moment, but she designed herself out of that dilemma by superimposing gemlike purples, dark greens, and golds on simplified shapes, instead of the flowy deluxe peasant look of presentations past. "I was thinking of Elizabethan women, who had so much power," she said. "I didn't want it to be so romantic, and the colors had to be less bright. But in the end, it has to be very feminine."

Loose, long-sleeve, knee-length satin dresses, decorated at the neckline and cuffs with 3-D velvet "stones" or smatterings of metalwork studs, put the collection in line with the season's covered-up silhouettes and mood of restraint. The bags, inspired by treasure chests, came in carved and gilded leather or as patchworks of gold brocade and emerald and deep-purple velvet. Etro did well not to force her theme into costumey excess, though. Ultimately, the attraction of these clothes is that they make lovely and not blatantly identifiable pieces to slip into a wardrobe—the sort of things that force friends to close in, feel the fabric, and murmur, "That's nice. Who's it by?"