Massimo Piombo was almost conspiratorial as he walked guests around his presentation for MP. Now three seasons old, the label is his clubhouse, an under-the-radar delight for like-minded souls, and his hushed, rushed excitement was infectious. The only thing missing was a secret handshake. But maybe that's where the clothes came in.

Piombo designs for connoisseurs of cloth: Belgian and Austrian linen, Indian shantung, French piqué, doppione seta from Italy, silk from somewhere in Lyon so specialized it only has eight employees. The sources were familiar to Piombo followers. For Spring, Massimo added a geographical extra in the shape of Massaua cotton from Africa, once used for colonial uniforms, now cut into suits with his signature hint of softly structured loucheness. Same with the striped linens, or the shawl-collared silk blazers. They demanded a degree of confidence, especially when accented with Piombo's rakish color sense. A glazed silk jacquard evening jacket was paired with a silk shirt in a shade of blue called Suzy. Piombo reminded us that it's favored over plain white by Italy's aristocrats of style.

Piombo's silk scarves, hand-printed in India, have become a signature. Here, they were contrasted with intensely toned shirts in shantung or cotton. A suit in a Prince of Wales check was fired up with a shirt in citron silk and a polka-dot tie. A plaid evening jacket was paired with gold shantung. If there was a considered dressiness in the styling of the collection, it was eased by the lightness of the fabrics. Piombo himself shrugs a lot in the classic Italian manner, and there was a sense of that easygoing, amused shrug in the clothes. One person who wasn't shrugging, however, was the member of the Japanese royal family whom Piombo had inveigled to model for the MP lookbook. Dignified? Yes. A barrel of laughs? Maybe not.