Alberta Ferretti has always been Milan's queen of languor, but today she sidelined her signature dreaminess for something a little more dynamic. "Positive energy, the joy of living," she enthused before her show. Against an electronic backdrop of shifting sunset shades, her models walked in pure white, trimmed with ribbons and multicolored floral embroidery. Ferretti cited the south of Italy—"the land of sun and sea and color," she called it—but there was equally an echo of the Andes in the hot pinks and reds she used.

For all its superficial charm, the collection was intensely technical: smocked mousseline, embossed plissé, placed floral prints. Familiarity with the terminology doesn't necessarily increase appreciation of the garment, but once you'd touched these particular clothes, the technique made a whole lot of sense. What was most intriguing was that the craftsmanship was turned to clothing of an extreme girlishness. The tiered skirts, the shirtwaister, the little cropped linens—all paired with embroidered ballerinas—were pieces that you'd think the daughters of a Ferretti customer might best respond to. A smart move on the designer's part. Especially because she still gave her devotees the option of spectacular orange and green mousselines at show's end.