"It's about the girls I went to school with, really," said Jonathan Saunders, glancing at the dippy little layered dresses in grunge-era-inspired checks he'd designed for Pollini. "I just love that attitude of girls being able to throw stuff on, and look good as they are." Then he laughed. "Pink gingham. I don't know how I'm going to tell Christopher!" The sheer coincidence of the similar checks in his collection and Christopher Kane's—they are close friends in London—has another level of resonance in Milan this week, because both young Scots have been hired by Italian companies to bring a shot of energy to their brands: Saunders to Aeffe's label, and Kane to Versace's Versus.

Saunders is the print and color specialist of the two. His consultancy has taken a while to get into gear, but in a presentation shown on neon-painted racks in a room he'd styled himself, the kind of woman he's addressing came into focus for the first time. Easy, accessible pieces, like screen-printed T-shirts and jumpsuits with faded-out trompe l'oeil pockets and grid-patterned fine-gauge intarsia sweaters, were hanging next to double-layer chiffon A-line shifts with horizontal pleating in the hem. They were displayed alongside a line of checked bags and shoes, accessories being the core of Pollini's business. The palette of pale blue, pink, and red, sharpened up with black, came over as sweet and summery, and the prices, reportedly, are a notch or two lower than previous seasons'. Buyers in the room were liking that.