Gabriele Colangelo had a tough time slot—8:45 on a Friday night—but he had a big hometown crowd cheering him on and a smart collection that was cohesive and well-made enough to potentially encourage some of the out-of-towner no-shows to book a studio appointment. Before it got started, the 34-year-old designer said he was inspired by an exhibition of paintings by the late German-French artist Hans Hartung. For the uninitiated, Hartung was known for his gestural, abstract style; the hand-painted scratch motifs on a fil coupe dress and the same design rendered in Swarovski crystals on a micro-beaded evening coat were cribbed from one of his works.

It wasn't necessarily the embellishments that impressed, though. The lush, asymmetrical volumes of Colangelo's shift dresses had a clean, unfussy appeal. They were minimal yet still sexy, a tough combination to pull off. And with their sloping, saddled shoulders and pushed-up sleeves, his jackets—which he paired with tapering, cropped pants or narrow Bermuda shorts—looked very right-now. Colangelo comes from a family of furriers, so there were also a couple of oversize short-sleeve jackets in sheared mink—a teaser, maybe, of what he might push further next season. The sleeper hit of Milan? Could well be. This designer is definitely someone retailers should be paying more attention to.