Curiosity over the lines of succession at well-established houses is becoming one of fashion’s favorite preoccupations. What happens when a designer reaches a point in life where stepping back seems only natural? And how can a label be injected with new energy, without losing its singularity? Mariuccia Mandelli, who is still very much hands-on in her own design room, has called in the London designer Hamish Morrow to work through those questions over the last two seasons at Krizia, and she clearly has confidence in his talent; at the end of her Spring 2004 show, she brought him out in front of the audience to take a joint bow.

Leafing through the results of their collaboration backstage, Mandelli pointed out the "sport chic" elements that made it into the collection. Morrow, who has his own fledgling line back home in London, is a modernist with an interest in technical fabrics, and his hand was evident in details like leather parachute harnesses on dresses and swimwear. His eye for bright, slightly jarring color combinations showed up, too, in tonal placings of shades of green, orange, and yellow. Mandelli also drew attention to the high-tech materials that can only be produced in Italy—modern luxe inventions like steel gauze (made into light, crinkly trenches and jackets) and washable leather, which Morrow used for biker pants. White leather zippered bodices and body-hugging dresses, meanwhile, projected a souped-up sexiness rather than Morrow’s instinctive taste for abstraction. Only time will tell whether this relationship will ensure a sound future direction for the house. But it’s certainly an interesting start.