Goga Ashkenazi has made headway at Vionnet since her debut effort last season. She threw a well-attended party in Milan last month to celebrate her acquisition of a cache of Thayaht illustrations of Madeleine Vionnet designs. More importantly, the collection she presented today was more runway worthy than what she did back in September. The thunder-and-lightning opening was corny and the Ancient Greece set, complete with metal columns, overdone, but those are beginner's mistakes, easily corrected next season. The clothes demonstrated a keen attention to our fashion times. Pants were cut high on the waist, roomy through the thighs, and above the ankle, in keeping with current trends, and she put the emphasis on strong shoulders. Hers are squared, not rounded like most of the others we've seen. Vionnet was famous as a dressmaker first and foremost, and there were some pretty numbers here that demonstrated a familiarity with the house's codes, most notably a long, softly draped black dress with a keyhole bodice and a high slit up one side.

Ashkenazi's slipup came with fur. It's just hard to get astrakhan, fox, and other skins to do the kind of draping that silk does. For the time being, it might make sense for her to narrow her scope and pay close attention to the little things. One model carried a handbag all the way around the runway with its paper stuffing about to spill out.