Straitened economic conditions, packed schedules, and the super-quick absorption of fashion on the Internet being as they are, it was quaint—not to say, verging on bizarre—to turn up to a midday show, only to find a drinks-and-nibbles reception in full swing, followed by a collection that trailed on so long, a quarter of the audience got up and headed out in desperation before the models left the runway. Not to be rude to the content of Etro, whose eclectic-ethnic aesthetic has an immense amount of goodwill on its side (it's a kind of Italian answer to Dries Van Noten), but this isn't the way fashion is conducted anywhere else these days.

That said, this was possibly the collection in which Veronica Etro had taken the house heritage in paisley and chinoiserie fabrics and most successfully integrated them into fashion. The paisley motifs were separated out and flatteringly placed in clusters riding on the flanks of pencil skirts or in the bodice of high-waisted dresses. This wasn't one of Etro's hippie-deluxe seasons, where everything flows in breezy gypsy fashion, but one where the richness of travelers' trophies was distilled, imagined as the possessions of Peggy Guggenheim or Diana Vreeland. That gave the cue for some great jewelry, including Cleopatra-like neckpieces, worn on sweaters with chic navy caban coats and cropped pants. Other elements were chinoiserie-quilted jackets, cheongsam blouses, and kimono gowns, but by the time the last few were exiting the runway, the audience had lost the plot and was flooding out.