Backstage before the show, hemmed in by Rai TV cameras and Italian journalists leaning in to plant kisses on his cheeks, Ermanno Scervino talked about his tribute to the slipdress, ageless fashion and feminine strength. “Beauty isn’t necessarily about being 18 years old,” said the soft-spoken designer, who has always underpinned his sportswear with elements of tailoring and couture.

A few minutes later he served up some elegant — if lavish — pieces crafted from duchess satin, silk georgette and waves of lace. There was nothing slinky — or even overtly sexy — about Scervino’s slipdresses, which were heavy, rich and brimming with color and texture.

One, in a watery green duchess satin, was adorned with faded pink lace embroidery like the smudgy pastels of an Jean-Antoine Watteau painting. Others were fashioned from scalloped tiers of faded red or sparkling gold lace, and had a flapper-like feel to them, while white silk ones had lace inserts and pleated or ruffled skirts. The latter were layered under guipure lace coats or curving, hourglass trenches.

Scervino took other clouds of colored lace and spun them into full skirts — in sky blue, paired with a mannish cotton shirt — or sea foam green, worn with a transparent color-blocked knit. With the statement color and dramatic flourishes, Scervino isn’t for everyone. It takes a strong personality to carry these beautiful clothes — whatever age she might be.

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