"Magic": Andrea Pompilio's rationale for Giorgio Armani choosing him to be the only other designer ever to show at Teatro Armani. And even if it came about because the grand old men of Milanese fashion are increasingly aware of the need to invest in the future, it's still easy to appreciate exactly why a relative newbie like Pompilio would feel there was something supernatural about Mr. A's stamp of approval.

That's why you found yourself wishing that Pompilio had proved himself worthier of the accolade. His debut a few years back at Pitti in Florence was a very clear promise of a new rich and strange something in Italian menswear. Since then, he's been barreling down a road less quirky toward more commercial sportswear. With this collection, Pompilio felt he'd refined his offering, made it more sartorial (Suits! Double-breasted!) while at the same time recapturing the quirk of the prints that was his original strength. Vegas was on his mind. He was thinking about dressing up in desert heat. That created a confusion of color, pattern, texture, and proportion. Appealing, yes, but still confusing, and that situation was hardly helped by the handful of women's outfits that the designer offered. Pompilio has an eye for immaculate detail, which marks him as a true Italian designer—look no further than his footwear for proof—but this presentation suggested that the search for Milan's Great White Hope will have to go on.