Luisa Beccaria presented her Fall collection at the Villa Necchi Campiglio, a newly restored onetime private Milanese residence built in the early thirties. The parquet floors, high ceilings, and bookshelf-lined walls were a good match for Beccaria's unapologetically romantic vision. These clothes looked like they could have stepped out of a period movie, or perhaps been pulled from the mansion's upstairs closets, where original Chanel and Gucci creations still hang.

The designer said she was putting a new emphasis on daywear. Her first models floated across the villa's parlor floor wearing shirtwaist dresses in powdery shades of silk and portrait-collar skirtsuits in metallic tweeds. If those were too precious, a striking sleeveless belted sheath, in a dégradé fabric that shaded from gold at the shoulders to deep blue at the hem, had real-world potential.

The dreaminess factor can make Beccaria's party numbers sing. Tops for after dark were the scalloped metallic-lace mermaid dresses with trains. Even in a time of downscaling, those should help further raise her profile on both the New York City party circuit and the red carpet.