"After sixty years, there is nothing new for Missoni," Angela Missoni noted after her show. "Even at the beginning, my father was always mixing fibers to create a special yarn." But that doesn't mean the house isn't always looking for—and finding—inspiration by researching alternatives to the time-honored Missoni traditions. Here, for instance, the use of knitting looms, rather than knitting machines, had allowed the opportunity to create unique fabrics, like the rubber-coated yarn made with outerwear expert Hancock of Scotland. Missoni inserted panels of it into waterproof coats.

The house was stretching in other ways, too. This most Italian of labels looked to West Africa for the colors of its new collection: indigo-dyed blues from Benin, sand and earth tones from Mali, rain-forest greens from the Ivory Coast. The models crunched down a bamboo catwalk. Bamboo also patterned a nylon blouson and shorts. Knits were embroidered with shells, and there was a tribal echo in a shade of mud red that accented the collection. But, all that to the contrary, this was no Nat Geo moment for Missoni. "I always like an urban guy," said Angela, and she showed the clothes to suit.

Actually, it was suits that displayed the loom-knit technique to great effect. Softly tailored, intensely toned, or subtly dégradé, they highlighted the most successful example to date of Angela's efforts to urbanize the artisanal for the Missoni male. That said, the killer piece—a cardigan in a patchwork of blue knits—cleaved pretty close to family tradition.