It's tempting to think that Giorgio Armani was anticipating a certain amount of criticism when he named his latest Emporio collection Little Winter Follies. There was certainly one element of folly here: To wit, the collection's wholesale endorsement of knee britches (the show notes called them bermudas), sometimes paired with skirts or dresses. In velvet, with jackets to match, it was hard to escape associations with Thomas Gainsborough's classic eighteenth-century painting The Blue Boy. Not in itself such a bad notion, but a tricky sell, you imagine, for a contemporary woman. Although maybe it wasn't women exactly that Armani was targeting. The staging of the show had a girlish glee, the models looked like fresh-faced ingenues as they strolled the catwalk arm in arm, smiling conspiratorially. The flat shoes helped.

There were moments when the britches had a period elegance: A black taffeta jacket and midnight velvet knickers were almost a dangerous liaison. Above the waist, Armani offered such a feast of jacket options that you could see window displays for days, especially in a luminous amethyst blue.

In fact, the collection used color in a way that was so strikingly un-Armani that it was practically bouleversé: Brightly hued plaids and psychedelically hand-painted Mongolian lamb jackets were folly at its most delightful.