Alessandro Dell'Acqua usually manages to find an interesting inspiration, but he outdid himself this time when he claimed David de Rothschild, the elegant young English explorer/environmentalist/
eccentric, as the wellspring for a collection tagged "Eco/Glamour." Imagining De Rothschild's dandified tendencies unleashed in, say, Alaska, Dell'Acqua produced a set of clothes that superimposed stylish form on prosaic function. A quilted ski jacket, for instance, was reconfigured in knit and layered over a nylon mac, a white shirt, and a tie. Impractical for the Arctic, Dell'Acqua acknowledged, but sexy nonetheless—and well in keeping with the designer's aesthetic.

Reconfigured function was also the basis for chunky polar knits pared back to a pair of gauntletlike arm warmers and a hood, both then eased over a tailored jacket. Such unlikely layering shaped the show, as in one long, gray nubby cardigan under a tailored black topcoat, another cardigan over a sweater, both in the same warped gray cable, or a ski jacket topping a wool blazer. Not long ago, piling bulk on bulk this way would've been technically unfeasible. But an evolving theme in Milan seems to be a new lightness—in everything from cardigans to ski jackets—that allows such combinations. Let's be generous and assume that is fashion's recognition of the rapidly shifting global climate. And let's be equally kind and assume that constitutes the "eco" portion of Dell'Acqua's formula.

The designer's longtime fans may be more reassured to learn that his own brand of edginess prevails in cropped silk faille pants over Chelsea boots, or the body harness that reins in a nylon parka, or the chests bared under all that reconceived skiwear. If it's a flesh tone, it's a Dell'Acqua.