So it's adieu to Michael Kors, and bonjour to Roberto Menichetti, who takes the helm of Celine for the first time for spring 2005, bringing with him a wildly different aesthetic. If the Celine woman, courtesy of Kors, projected the image of worldly traveler with a private jet, Menichetti's heroine is shaping up to be the one designing the aerodynamics. There were no summer-weight furs, no jewels that looked like they'd been picked up during a few transcontinental jaunts, no precious exotic skins. Correction: There were a few of the latter, in the form of crocodile satchels worn like shoulder bags and tiny lizard purses sportily slung around the body.

The real change, of course, is that Celine has swapped Kors' American vision of sportswear for Menichetti's European one. It means that casual and often flamboyant luxury has been replaced with a far more sober and experimental vision. Menichetti pretty much stripped everything down to a wardrobe of streamlined and slightly futuristic basics: A-line coats, cocoon skirts, and boxy jackets. All of this came in a palette that looked like it might have been created in a laboratory, with saturated shades of fuchsia, citrine yellow, and lapis blue—an effect heightened by digitally manipulated floral prints.

Perhaps that was as far as the experiment should have gone: No woman needs a striped sweater with an odd circular cutout on the back, or tricky pleating on a skirt, or strange, space-age headbands. Menichetti's simplest offering—a white tank top and wide ivory herringbone tuxedo pants—is a far safer bet as a template for the new Celine.