Ah, Costume National: the label where hems must be high and leather isn't so much an option as a staple. There is nothing wrong with this kind of molto-sexy-with-a-tough-edge signature style—after all, it's far better than the brand having no style at all. But you sometimes suspect that designer Ennio Capasa and his label would be better served by showing the collection at home in molto sexy Milano as opposed to très chic Paris, where the show can come across like a thigh-high boot accidentally placed in the kitten-heel section of a shoe store.

Yet perhaps the city is rubbing off a little on Capasa, because this was a relatively toned-down collection. Sure, the hems were still up around the hip-bone area, but the clothes themselves came in soft grays and browns, wool and mohair—a cleansing effect after last season's leather short shorts. There were some very good trouser suits that achieved Costume's necessary sexy quotient, thanks to the excellent fit. The cleverly morphed thicker materials of the short dresses—that wool and mohair—almost seemed designed to distract the eye from the models' upper thighs, although perhaps that only works on fashion editors as opposed to, say, footballers.

Quite how any of this fit in with Capasa's surprising source of inspiration, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, a nineteenth-century book about self-imposed isolation and self-discovery, is anyone's guess. Maybe it just suggests that Capasa is beginning to resist the Italian nightclub scene, staying home instead with a good book and a cup of cocoa. Well, a good book and a glass of Champagne.