Gabriele Colangelo had Gerhard Richter's over-painted photographs on his mood board backstage. As he's done in the last couple of seasons, Colangelo looked to the work of a contemporary artist to spark ideas about fabric innovation. His Richters, so to speak, are made from jacquard that's been printed with an image of the sun setting over the ocean, the faux paint splotches created by pieces of the material that don't absorb the print. Complicated stuff, to be sure, but the results were rather sublime on a full, A-line skirt that he paired with a white semi-sheer top.

Colangelo, like his fellow young Milan designer Marco de Vincenzo, is interested in synthetics. A different jacquard, this one woven from nylon, looked like there were water bubbles trapped inside it. Wait, there's more. He overlaid a tank dress made from the stuff with a trapeze whipped up with silicone thread. It glinted under the lights.

But for every runway-only experiment there was another piece that could step right off it. Top candidates for that honor included an elegant blush linen coat-dress edged in neon yellow; a cobalt blue dress stitched from thousands of thick strands of silk with sheer long sleeves; and boyish, low-slung trousers shown with a jersey tee. Still, it's the boundary pushing that makes Colangelo's development interesting to watch. It's what landed him his new gig designing for the Italian heritage label Genny.