"Deep and long cracks exalt the body of the interpreter." That terrifying-sounding process, described in the arcane notes that accompanied Aquilano.Rimondi's Spring collection, was fortunately nowhere in evidence on the duo's catwalk. There were, however, deep and long slits that opened up dresses with the seventies-doing-forties line we've seen already this season. Bearing in mind that the seventies were a good decade for Italian fashion and that Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi have sometimes cast themselves as standard-bearers of Italian culture, it made perfect sense that here they enthusiastically dived into the colors, prints, and proportions of that era. The result: an immediate reprieve from the rather less-distinctive collection they had shown for the house of Ferré earlier in the week.

It was all about that slit, high on the thigh, giving a glam-rock verve to dresses that would have looked kicky on Donna Jordan in Vogue Italia way back when. When the designers interjected short shorts (with stripey, sequined tees that were backed in sheer nude chiffon), they too were Donna-worthy. In keeping with Milan's current love affair with saturated color were outfits that matched intense satiny shades, but they still followed a pencil-skirt paradigm that said seventies-forties. Truth be told, it hardly looked this good the first time around.

A footnote: For designers who trade on such finely crafted sophistication, Aquilano and Rimondi have a winningly humble side. Tommaso comes from Puglia, and his aunt back home made the cookies that were passed around before the show.