Canali uses its runway collections to travel. Recent outings have taken it to Paris and St. Petersburg, but for Fall the label stayed closer to home: Venice. "I suppose all Italians love Venice," said Elisabetta Canali backstage. "It is a city of art, full of tradition."

Venetian traditions infused the collection with a romantic spirit slightly incongruous for an 80-year-old suit label. But what's the good of a vacation if you can't get away from yourself for a little while? The delicate colors of mist and the watery blues and greens of canals provided the palette. Venetian velvet took center stage as a material for wafer-colored jackets and trousers; wallpaper motifs borrowed from the walls of palazzi were jacquard-ed into the suits.

There were pieces of such exaggerated loveliness—all rounded-down shawl collars, robelike coats, and shimmering silk shirts—that they threatened to send the elegant lot spinning toward pure fantasy. But then there's a school of thought that says that's what a runway is for. If the collection felt less contemporary than it might have, that's because, Elisabetta insisted, "Elegance must be timeless." Anyway, as a concession to the present moment, she mentioned that she'd just relaunched the label's Web site, as a portal to its globe-trotting world.