There was a hustle-bustle of excitement—and as much Italian spoken as English—at the Celeste Bartos Forum this morning as Alessandro Dell'Acqua's debut for Malo drew near. The anticipation was understandable given the number of personnel changes that have occurred at the fabled Italian cashmere house since it started showing in New York in 2006. Dell'Acqua is in fact the third designer to take the creative reins in that short time (or fourth, if you count the team of Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, who left for Gianfranco Ferré in April, as two instead of one). What, the audience wondered, would he bring to the party?

Dell'Acqua's stated theme, ironically, was suspension, and by the third look it was clear what he meant by that: Iris Strubegger appeared in a sort of tiered "lobster dress," bands of fabric hung on gossamer tulle (a very modern homage, perhaps, to Dell'Acqua's favorite designer, Charles James). Boxy, tailored, sleeveless jackets had a tough, deconstructed vibe thanks to the use of suspension bars—a familiar concept to Ralph Rucci fans. Adding some celebratory sparkle to the proceedings were jeweled tulle inserts here and there. Dell'Acqua's well-edited dress parade also included two goddess gowns in a cashmere so light-gauge it would have made even Botticelli envious.

But although Dell'Acqua's collection served up sophisticated, trend-aware clothes on the half shell, as it were, the suspense on the retail end remains: Sure there are pearls (and purls) to be found here, but will the fashion-forward customer think to look for them at Malo?