The show notes invoked the wild romance of the Hebrides. Seagulls cawed and waves broke on the soundtrack. The scene was well and truly set…then Graeme Black proceeded to offer 40 or so outfits that finessed his inspirations into sophisticated stasis. The first passage was a gown that fell from the throat in a snowy white cascade, a pristine sail that would never see sea air. If the little jacket—basket-woven from strips of leather—had done a better job of evoking the Scottish fisherman's net that was Black's starting point, it might have had more charm than the anonymously luxe finished product.

Black has clearly mastered the art of dressing Milan's haute bourgeoisie. That is, after all, the city where the former Ferragamo designer found his fortune. But while there's no faulting his level of craftsmanship, there was something stiff about the clothes, even with a white cotton ruffle on a jacket pocket (well, that was fussy, not stiff), or chiffon ruffles cascading round the dip of a blouse's back. That shirt was paired with a pencil skirt, a silhouette that cropped up a few times. So did doubled gowns, where a sail of fabric floated over a body-hugging column. At least the movement suggested whitecaps whipping in the wind. In the context of Hebridean inspiration (rope coiled on old fishing boats, mercury seas, sculptural rock stacks—Black can certainly turn a phrase), the gold sequin disco jacket was a discord, but it was the liveliest thing on the catwalk.