If you caught their Gianfranco Ferré collection earlier this week, you noticed that Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi have developed an earnest new interest in wearable daywear. This economy has a way of doing that. Fashion watchers who might've written off the duo as decorators, not designers, were probably pleasantly surprised today by a pair of gorgeous nude wool crepe sheaths, both of which were elegantly unadorned but for a floppy bow at the hip or neckline. They also had a strong navy double-breasted jacket belted at the waist over long, flared pants. Save for a couple of frilly, ruffled printed silk dresses, the silhouette was close to the body and ultra-streamlined.

No, the duo hasn't forsaken the embellished look that's become their signature, but they have modulated it a bit to stay current. Channeling Marisa Berenson and Marina Schiano, both of whom were jet-setting around Rome in the seventies, they paired snug cabled cashmere sweaters with be-feathered pencil skirts or low-slung handmade tweed trousers. They frayed the edges of their tweed skirtsuits and coats and studded the shoulders with smatterings of crystals. And they stitched strips of fox to organza to keep their furs light. The palette was soft: dusty pink, gray-blue, violet, peachy ivory. The effect was still rich, but a whole lot subtler than last season—a savvy move that could win over some previously reluctant fans.