Last season, up-and-comer Marco de Vincenzo impressed with clothes loaded with special, technically challenging details: hand-painted leathers and chiaroscuro effects at the neckline and waist of separates and dresses. This season, he has gone spare—practically clinical—showing cotton poplin pieces with jersey backs, so they appeared pulled together and proper coming, and subtly voluptuous going.

You had to wonder if the change of direction was economically induced. As in, retail is still hurting in Italy, and independent designers are hurting most of all. Can someone find this man a backer? Tonight's show felt of a piece with the more minimal direction Milan has taken, and that'll work in de Vincenzo's favor. But we would have liked to see more of the sort of clothes that pointed to his former promise: intarsia sweater dresses with intricate tonal designs, and cocktail numbers with densely beaded panels draped asymmetrically in relation to the layers underneath. Here's to hoping some of the other challenges get out of de Vincenzo's way so he can return to his technically accomplished work.