Milan's Bagatti Valsecchi Museum houses Renaissance art, furniture, and tapestries that belonged to the nineteenth-century collectors Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi. It was the setting for Luisa Beccaria
's presentation, which combined a runway show and tableaux vivants. The model who posed on a settee in a mauve duchesse satin portrait-collar gown had her picture snapped by every smartphone-wielding person in the place. It's not quite the same thing as a Renaissance portrait, is it? But the way the folds of the dress caught the light was lovely. Beccaria has a way with a romantic frock, as was made clear by another occasion dress with a navy bodice, and a black skirt bisected with a crystal-encrusted waistband. Also pretty, if not quite as gala: an off-the-shoulder, long-sleeve lace column in silvery lilac, and a cocktail dress in clingy champagne-colored chenille. Both had a restraint that the plissé evening numbers lacked.
Depending on the season, Beccaria dabbles more or less with daywear. In the process of a recent move, she discovered a stash of dresses from her earliest days as a designer. They prompted a couple of experiments with Alcantara suede and other technical fabrics. It was a worthwhile pursuit, but that artificial suede refuses to drape the way duchesse satin does.