Before the Luisa Beccaria show this afternoon, the designer's daughter and right hand in the design studio, Lucilla Bonaccorsi, said that the company is opening one boutique in Melbourne, Australia, this year and five in China. That explains the emphasis on daywear separates and wallet-friendly knits. Women cannot live on cocktail dresses and gowns alone, no matter where they call home. But even the label's belted tweed cape, cable sweaters, and floral jacquard pantsuit came gilded for Fall. A Christmastime family trip to Syria apparently lent the collection the Byzantine glow that made the jaw-dropping neoclassical Villa Reale such an apt venue. Like last season, they used "real girls" in the show: Professional ballerinas, friends of the brand, and a harpist staged tableaux vivants among the art gallery's Segantini paintings and Antonio Canova sculptures.

What with those bits of staging, the 48-look runway show couldn't help but feel overlong. Similarly, the multilayered tulle and organdy ribbon gowns that were touted in the program notes felt overworked. But there were some simpler beauties in the bunch. Two looks in particular—a short-sleeved, ankle-length dress in gold-dipped lace and a long-sleeved, sashed blue chiffon number with panels of that same golden lace—were worth a callout.