As coat specialists, team Max Mara face a challenge at the Spring shows. Camel hair just isn't a warm-weather material, and double-face cashmere not so much either. So what's the message? As it turns out, they made a compelling case for the latter's seasonless-ness today, cutting it in cool shades of pearly gray and nude buff. The show opened with a slipdress in double-face cashmere and a matching coat in the stuff—a couture version of the twinset, the program notes called it. With faint gray hose and silvery sandals, the model was a vision in monochrome.

Head-to-toe single color was the other big takeaway. It looked effortlessly chic on skirt suits and tailored coats over sheath dresses, as well as on more directional outfits like an oversize tee tucked into a long pencil skirt with suspenders. All of this felt true to the Max Mara label (save for the too-cute-for-their-own-good rompers). The fabric play was on brand, too. Beyond the double-face, the designers leaned on all-natural materials like linen, canvas, and a silk with the rough, raw texture of burlap, juxtaposed with others that had a more high-tech hand. Denim separates were treated to resemble a Robert Ryman canvas—call it art-gallery acid wash.

Where the trouble arose was with the Crayola brights. The colors were searing, which in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but accessorized with not one, but two coordinating bags and matching hosiery and shoes, it was a case of visual overload. In the end, those were mostly styling miscues. What Max Mara does best is sophisticated understatement. And getting back to that, a hooded poncho in oatmeal double-face cashmere was pretty much faultless.