With its bricolage of classic men's fabrics and sumptuous decorative elements, Antonio Marras' own collection in Milan was one-of-a-kind poetry. A "laboratorio," he called it. It was a genuine pleasure to see some of the results of his experiments filter down to the Kenzo catwalk, in the languid interplay between feminine and masculine; the magpie trove of paillettes, buttons, and beads that decorated sober gray flannel; and the combinations of leopard and pinstripe. But these signatures were actually so compatible with Kenzo Takada's own aesthetic that it was hardly necessary to draw any clear distinction. The design of the runway said it all: willow branches woven into a spreading canopy of trees, representing the evolution of the Kenzo ideal under its current creative director.

Marras is a free spirit, untouched by passing trends, which makes him one of the few designers who can get away with claiming a quest for liberty as the reason for his collection. Freedom here meant the loosest, easiest of shapes—usually layered—in fabrics that were a patchwork of florals, plaids, embroidery, and appliqué. The pursuit of ease yielded an unfortunate jumpsuit or two, but the mood was otherwise very much the casual hippie- and vintage-influenced chic of the seventies style icons that Marras name-checked—women like Tina Chow, Marisa Berenson, Florinda Bolkan, even Farrah Fawcett, some of whom undoubtedly wore Kenzo the first time around. Toss a pinstriped jacket over a patchworked smock dress and you get the point. The hair—a tangle of pretty curls, often topped with a man's fedora—underlined it. With his own collection, at least, it's hard not to feel that Marras is radically underrated. The crowd at Kenzo today included the omnipresent Lindsay Lohan, who seemed much more agreeable than she's been the rest of the week. That possibly suggests the tide of attention may be turning Marras' way.