You would think, what with next Spring shaping up to be all about tiered gypsy skirts, ethnic handcrafted jewels, and prints, prints, prints galore, that this would be Emanuel Ungaro's season. As I say: You would think. Alas, it is not to be.

Ungaro designer Giambattista Valli may have conceived his Spring collection as an odyssey to the Greek Isles, but it quickly became apparent that we were all at (the Aegean) sea. Valli touched on pretty much every element of Greek culture: the white shirts and full, layered skirts that are part of the country's traditional national dress; huge togalike rope belts knotted around the waist of oversized chiffon ponchos and tourniquet-tight pants; and Grecian-draped dresses—a strong trend in Paris, but not terribly well executed here. Just in case we'd missed the point, all of this was paraded out to the sound of 1,001 balalaikas madly strumming away.

The Ungaro look now seems stuck in a rut, and is simply not moving on. Those tight crop pants, for example, have appeared in just about every collection that Valli has designed for the house. … and still there are no takers. Another sticking point: The show was so skewed toward the Young Hollywood set, with its unquenchable thirst for eveningwear, that there was virtually nothing here in the way of day clothes. For the final look, Valli sent model Missy Rayder out in a dress with a billowing underskirt, which she dramatically removed to reveal a shorter, far simpler dress. The house of Ungaro needs a few better tricks up its sleeve than that if it's going to work its magic again.