Alessandro Dell'Acqua channeled Marilyn for spring—her curvaceous bustier dresses, her straining pencil skirts, her crystal-spangled "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" gown, the lips, the lot. As a designer cliché, that, of course, ranks as the all-time No. 1. Still, in a season when fifties influences are still playing, Dell'Acqua just about managed to get away with it, using the ubiquitous icon as a convenient device for showcasing his view of dressing up for evening.

On the runway, there was also a Helmut Newton-ish, seventies kind of slant, teetering on the brink between good taste and vulgarity. Marilyn lips—molded into Plexiglas belt clasps, scattered as prints, or turned out as pink plastic buttons on knits—came over as a bit of Pop Art fun. Shiny lacquered stretch-chiffon skirts were definitely a tad too brash, but some of the black-lace-over-nude dresses, handled with Dell'Acqua's customary sensitivity for lingerie, were delicate enough to satisfy the fashion police.