"We're maximalists," said Roberto Rimondi, which had to be the most superfluous declaration of Milan's fashion week, given the collection he showed with Tommaso Aquilano. Taking inspiration from the richness and drape of fabrics in Renaissance paintings, from the "sacred jewelry" of the church, and Italian alta moda in the seventies, the duo offered designs of such complexity and depth that they were practically a master class in the capabilities of Italian artisans. Every designer should have access to such resources. But more to the point: What could have been an exercise in fashion academia was goosed by Aquilano.Rimondi so it read like a vision of fierce modernity. Scuba fabric worked with antique tapestry technique? Worlds collided.

The designers emphasized two silhouettes: very feminine—a bustier and an accent on the hips—versus a masculine influence, with double-breasted jackets over skort and trousers. The cross-gender dialogue offered the duo an opportunity to explore extraordinary fabrics, like the micro-jacquard they used for their suits and the double-faced faille used in those scuba dresses with the tapestry overlay. "Black is the new gold," Rimondi said. That meant rich tone-on-tone embroideries, but also black leather, as sleeves on a dress or a cape (if you're inclined toward one of the season's major trends, this is the cape you should be looking at). And often, it meant everything together: ottoman and scuba and velvet and leather in one glorious farrago, with a single long zip snaking down the spine to hold it all together. True, Aquilano.Rimondi's vision is unyielding in its single-mindedness, but this is one instance where generosity of spirit is weakness. Perfection is a hard taskmaster.