The startlingly weird gold mask that Philip Treacy made for last season's Francesco Scognamiglio show had been replaced by less out-there accent pieces: crystal-encrusted belt buckles in the Boucheron style. Had the designer decided to play it demure and safe? Not exactly. Having recently landed some U.S. accounts, Scognamiglio put a few items on his runway with commercial potential, like a tweedy coat-dress; a black tailleur with the blazer tucked into high-waisted trousers; and strong, on-trend shearling aviator jackets. But there were still plenty of avant-garde goings-on in his well-executed Fall collection.

Inspired by the structure of early Azzedine Alaïa, Scognamiglio turned out a series of flared-skirt tank dresses with bold cutouts on the torso. His other point of reference, believe or not, was the fish, which as his show notes explained is a symbol of power, prosperity, and positivity. The sea creatures turned up as sculpted wedge heels on his shoes and as one enormous belt; they also informed the pleated, scalelike texture of a black coat-dress and a mint green blouse, both of which had high, pyramidlike collars that echoed streamlined, aquatic shapes.

Backstage, Scognamiglio noted that his brand is ten years old. That's a long time to operate on the fringes of the Milan fashion world, but for the moment he seems content to remain there.