Counteracting the season's clean aesthetic, some designers took the more-is-more approach, showing ruffles, shredded tulle and lots of volume.

Anna Molinari: Rosella Tarabini has a tendency to evoke an unkempt artsy edge when designing a collection. For spring, Tarabini went no holds barred with that approach. She started out with some beautiful couture-like, if unkempt, dresses in nude and lavender shredded tulle. But from there, things got a little crazy. Bitten by the volume bug, Tarabini puffed up paper-bag brown and lilac taffeta into ridiculously proportioned jackets and dresses. Even the aforementioned shredded tulle looked odd when layered with abandon into big puffball skirts under strict corsetry or slice-and-dice knits. There was one moment of perfect calm, however — a baby-doll dress in scalloped-edge white cotton belted in leather, worn with a cute little cardigan.

Antonio Marras: "This is what we should see more of in Milan," said Michael Fink, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue, walking out of the Antonio Marras show.

How true. Marras isn't obsessed with commercial clout or trend mania. But he usually weaves his collection around a theme. And, from the music-score invitation, white curtains and wood-plank catwalk, it was clear that ballet was twirling around in his head. But there wasn't a tutu-ed girl in sight. Instead, he exercised his more-is-more vision with bias cuts, layers, embroideries, ruching, ribbons and ruffles. All worked to the hilt.

Side-wrapped taffeta skirts flounced from beneath see-through tops, ruffles tumbled down the front of blouses and intricate embroidery showered almost every garment. Tossed over the shoulders were jackets that were either very boxy or teeny. As the sound track played the score from "Swan Lake," out came a group of black chinoiserie dresses — gossamer numbers with jet beading and side-wrapped taffeta skirts under shrunken jackets — the kind of clothes that should keep fashionistas on their toes.

Krizia: Mariuccia Mandelli gave her iconic tiger the season off, offering the position as Krizia mascot to a red-and-blue-faced, Papuan monkey instead. The simian put in a few appearances, staring out eerily from a couple of tops. Otherwise, Mandelli went bananas with a safari theme.She piled on the exotic trappings — tribal makeup, terra-cotta-caked hair, endless strands of Maori beads. It made for a bewildering barrage that all but overwhelmed some otherwise fine clothes. There's nothing about a beautifully cut white shirt and crisp pair of pants that can't be ruined when shown on a girl painted with a blue streak down her face. Likewise, Mandelli's swirly beaded shifts and fluttering chiffon dresses were done up in colors brighter than those of any macaw. This season, Mandelli heeded the call of the wild. But she would have been better off taming her animal instincts.

Max Mara: There is a market out there for Max Mara's roomy linen suits and long sailor-striped dresses, with a likely core founded on the same customers who bought into the look back when Perry Ellis pioneered haute linen in the Eighties. A blouse with a crocheted frou collar was paired with paper-bag waisted pants. A linen halter dress hung by suspender straps. Extra-narrow dresses in primary brights made a play for color. This season, however, Max Mara seemed caught in an in-between phase, moving from a former state of breathless trendiness to attempts at pleasing a more mature audience. But compromises, including jumpsuits cut in corporately correct neutrals, serve neither the young thrill-seekers nor their sophisticated older sisters.

Ermanno Scervino: Like any designer, Ermanno Daelli of Ermanno Scervino has certain aesthetic penchants (embroidery and crinkly fabrics are just a few) that, depending on the season, are a pleasant constant or cumbersome crutch. For spring, Daelli used his flair for embellishment and overworked fabrics and cut crisp linen dresses with delicate lace insets, layered compact beads on military cropped jackets and kept cotton pants wide and sinuous. Daelli controlled his hand to light and feminine effect until the final few exits, when his love for layering got the best of him, showing fur-lined, boiled wool peacoats over gold bikinis. Despite the momentary memory lapse that this was a spring show, Daelli executed a pleasing collection that offered fashion without complications.

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