There is a hard-to-miss Omega watch ad near the Four Seasons in Milan, featuring Nicole Kidman in a Luisa Beccaria dress. And before today's show, the designer's PR representative was quick to mention a fan letter the actress had sent, raving about the lovely, frothy confection. What's behind Beccaria's loyal and growing Hollywood following? "She makes them pretty," remarked one editor. "Her clothes don't scare them."

Does that mean she plays it too safe? Certainly, there was nothing demonstrably trendy on Beccaria's spring runway, and when she did nod in that direction—with a couple of short, strapless party frocks in washed silk —it didn't quite gel. Their bubble hems seemed out of place among the more demure knee-length offerings in eyelet, scalloped lace, and hazy watercolor florals. But when she stayed closer to her comfort zone, her clothes stood out for all the right reasons—take a shirtwaist dress with cap sleeves in organza printed with an abstract gold wash. The collection's lone suit, a cape-back jacket and a pleated skirt, came in the same Klimt-esque fabric. The showstopper arrived a few looks later, a champagne silk-charmeuse gown worthy of Carole Lombard. Bias-cut thirties styles have been gliding down many a runway, but Beccaria's looked the most elegant and the best-constructed of the lot. If she only does one thing, there's no denying she does it awfully well.