With his smaller-scale show, Luca Orlandi proved that bigger isn't always better. He gave up his usual Sunday night slot in the tent for a 1 o'clock show in the brighter, more intimate, promenade. Why the change? "I wanted less of a party atmosphere, less 'cha, cha, cha,' and more of an emphasis on the clothes," he said. Still, it wouldn't be a Luca Luca show without a front row that inspires a paparazzi frenzy; so Orlandi's audience included Nicky Hilton, Serena Williams, and Rachel Roy—not to mention Miss USA and Miss Universe, both wearing their sashes. The difference was that this time, unlike in seasons past, the festivities did not prevent a punctual start.

There was a change on the runway, too. Orlandi likes to do sexy, but this time, the allure was more subtle, more likely to be found in the tight fit of a simple sheath—in gray wool or even a tiger-pattern brocade—than in a plunging neckline. Orlandi said that he wanted to interpret classic American sportswear using the finest European fabrics, and he had some success, but the concept wasn't always a good fit for the Italian designer. A lone polo shirt, for example, looked gratuitous, and you don't need a show for the plainest of tops and skirts, whatever the material. But Orlandi was on form with his dresses, many of which featured intricate and effective smocking details, and the black macramé gown that closed the show was lovely.