Sporty isn't a word that springs to mind when you think of Alberta Ferretti, a refined woman who creates refined clothes. But suddenly there was sporty, all over her Spring Philosophy collection.

The Italian designer zoomed in on the parka, reimagining it with subtle yet sparkly embellishments and adding straps so that the models could wear them suspended, capelike, from their shoulders. Underneath were ensembles that were deliberate studies in contrast: plenty of lovely, prototypical Ferretti dresses—the loveliest in a maxi length—done in subtle color combinations or Indian prints and topped with beaded corsetlike harnesses (a nod to her interest in the Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema). The dresses, though, were as unsurprising as they were accomplished. What gave the collection its panache was the combination of the expected and the unexpected. Military touches also added to the frisson of something new afoot. There were some really great army-green pants and shorts that proved Philosophy can, indeed, be just as right for the kind of customer who gets collared on the sidewalk by street-style photographers as they are for the kind of customer who gets shot by Patrick McMullan.