In a Milan week that's been dominated by discussion of the new minimalism, it was the anti-minimalists' turn to talk tonight at Aquilano.Rimondi. Backstage Tommaso Aquilano rattled off the duo's influences this season: Fellini's La Strada, couturier Roberto Cappucci, the Venice Carnival—none of which were a surprise given their commitment to all that is good and Italian. But new on their moodboard and on the runway were the references to Japan. How's this for anti-minimalist? On the bodice of one tiny dress a Kabuki character appeared in profile.

That was just the start, though, in a collection that had more of molto. Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi focused on two silhouettes: mini and midi. But short or long, there was a lot in play. Electric color-blocking, graphic harlequin jacquards, fan prints and embroideries, obi belts, and contrast ribbon borders—a different one for each look, Aquilano claimed. The beauties mostly belonged to the long category: A peplum top in that fan print and horizontal stripes worn over a split-seam pencil skirt in a scarf print was particularly sublime. Alluding to the designers' love of embellishment before the show, one top merchant said, "It's unlike anything in the market." That's truer than ever this season when their against-the-grain approach could make them very popular with retailers.