Gaia Trussardi's challenge is to balance the backstory of her label with its contemporary reality. Trussardi
is more than a century old and family owned, with a justifiable pride in its history and a predilection for keeping business and blood closely intertwined. (Members of the Trussardi family don't just own, run, and design the collections, some even model in the ad campaigns.) But the demands of a global brand mean translating that history into the present and making it accessible even to those for whom the Trussardi name doesn't inspire equal parts adulation and envy. It's not easy to be a servant of two masters, and the balance was unsteady this time aorund. Gaia imagined a modern man who had one foot in the traditional countryside, where the Trussardi family homestead is, and one in the speeding city. (She called her commuter a superhero, making her one of several Milan designers preoccupied with the notion of heroic multitasking this season.) The aristocratic, country-villa dweller was represented by pleated trousers, cabled sweaters, and camel coats; the urbanite by leather, in a nod to the company's leather-goods heritage, cut into skinny pants, woven jackets, and blazers. Leather parkas bonded to English wool made the two-sided man point literally. But on the whole, the fusion of sleek and sharp with soft and stately jarred more than it jelled.