At Gianfranco Ferré today, the action on the runway played second fiddle to the intrigue going on behind the scenes. According to reports, there's a legal battle brewing between the company's current owners, the Dubai-based Paris Group, and Italian state commissioners. For the time being, it appears that the jobs of Stefano Citron and Federico Piaggi, hired to relaunch the brand over a year ago, are safe. Which is good news. The designers seem to understand Ferré's legacy; on the runway this afternoon they continued their work to streamline his eighties architectural flourishes into something believable for the present day. The mostly white and black collection keyed into one of the stronger undercurrents of the season. There were some sharp little dresses in the mix with what the press release described as "hyperbolic décolleté" lined in shiny python, and an evening look that consisted of a wide bandeau above a high-waisted, split-hem long skirt was sexy in a tough way.

The question is, does it matter? Two years in bankruptcy, followed by a long-running legal dispute have done serious harm to the already sadly dwindling cachet of the Ferré label. Clothes alone might not be enough to build it back.