If you can't enlist famous actresses to model your collection like you-know-who, do the next best thing: Rally your prettiest, most aristocratic young clients and get them to do the modeling. That was the plan this season for Luisa Beccaria, and it mostly paid off. Wedge espadrilles made negotiating the balcony of the Pinacoteca di Brera challenging for the non-pros—hey, it happens to even the most seasoned catwalkers—but their bemused, can-you-believe-I'm-up-here smiles more than made up for that. If reporters hadn't been there taking notes and pictures, Brera tourists might've thought they'd stumbled upon some fabulous afternoon wedding. Colors were soft and sun-faded, fabrics were often diaphanous, and the silhouette was loosened up. The overall effect: upper-crust bohemian, and charming with it.

The opening white cotton shirtdress with a deep geometric lace hem and matching sleeves set a relaxed tone that carried into other daywear: natural linen wrap dresses, an eyelet trench, and a delicate tie-neck, flutter-sleeve blouse worn with a ribbon-embroidery pencil skirt. Beccaria's party dresses were as diverse as the real-girl models' bodies: a high-necked halter in white organdy for a willowy type, a décolleté-revealing floral print for someone slightly more Rubens-esque. And for her A-listers back in L.A. (the designer has her share of Hollywood admirers, too): a handful of red-carpet-standby goddess gowns.