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DSquared: It appears that the designing twins Dan and Dean Caten have repented for their sins. For their fall DSquared collection, they decided to forgo their usual antics — you know, showing super-late in a nightclub where friends and sycophants were more important than professional showgoers — in favor of a proper runway show in a tent. It would also appear that the girl they envision is growing up with them, and they’ve even got her going to church!

These two like to work a set, this time replicating a chapel, packing the pews with models and filling the runway with lots of their usual fare — tons of skinny jeans, fitted microplaid shirts and sexy leather jackets with a rock ’n’ roll edge. But now that this girl has seen the light, she’s open to mixing in some primmer fare. Sharp skirts tightly packed with pleats came in pinstriped gray wool or cotton khaki with the word “angel” embroidered at the hip. Coats were cut clean, as in a sweet camel version, its only embellishment a neat slit pocket in back, or an Empire-waisted, whip-stitched shearling. A pencil skirt was topped by a lean cardigan and denim jacket, belted in leather with a studded bow and a fur scarf, the perfect marriage of the old and new muse. Oh, happy day!

Luisa Beccaria: Not all designers feel the pressure to set new trends or stir up the media in this fashion-a-minute merry-go-round. And Luisa Beccaria is one who doesn’t. She’s more interested in satisfying her loyal customers — so, season after season, Beccaria delivers the fluttering silks, frosted pastels and graceful embellishments that have won her a very nice roster of fans, including young socials, as well as the red-carpet crowd.

For fall, Beccaria unfurled yards of rose and butterfly silks and tapestry florals, which she draped, ruched, beribboned and dazzled up for soft blouses, layered flounced dresses and pleated skirts. Then she enveloped these with roomy sheared mink jackets, A-line coats with jeweled necklines and flirtatious tweed jackets. A perfect mix to send her pretty young things off on their round of high teas, clubs and grand soireès.  

This story first appeared in the February 28, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Beccaria’s poetic wiles may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they bring out the princess in such red-carpet clients as Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Nicole Kidman.

Riccardo Tisci: He’s been the talk of the Milan season. He’s reportedly the top candidate for the Givenchy women’s wear post, and an announcement is expected this week. He got Karla Otto to do his p.r. He lured top fashion editors to his show. So why didn’t Riccardo Tisci capitalize on the moment? Rather than charm weary editors with a precise presentation late Friday night — and let his high-drama clothes stand on their own — he made the rookie mistake of going artsy with a brooding installation set up in a frigid warehouse on the fringe of Milan.

Riccardo, you’re young, you’re allowed to make mistakes, but listen up. Fifty minutes of waiting on cold concrete in an incense-infused warehouse just to see Maria Carla play with some leaves and stand in front of a giant wood cross did not create an ecclesiastical experience. Instead, it incited the profane — or rather profanity — as dozens of angry editors bolted while your models moved at a snail’s pace around a poorly lit set. The logistical muddle aside, and what a muddle it was, there were evocative pieces. A cream wool jersey dress gathered and knotted at front, a long black velvet opera coat and an unevenly cut beige broadtail jacket demonstrated Tisci’s raw talent. Yet the presentation’s overwrought pretension overshadowed the clothes. Let’s hope that Tisci seeks redemption next season.

Ermanno Scervino: It would be easy to pigeonhole Ermanno Scervino as an Italian brand favored by over-tanned Milanese women. Sure, its down-filled tailored coats trimmed in knits and chiffon bustiers are perfect for Roman actresses and are even favorites of the Italian prime minister’s wife. Yet designer Ermanno Daelli has worked to avoid such a stereotype through thoughtful collections  that balance rocker chic and feminine whims. There’s nothing cerebral or difficult about these clothes, and that’s exactly how Daelli wants it.

For fall, the designer toughened up lovely chiffon tops with slouchy tweed trousers, added delicate embroidery to fur-trimmed anoraks and set lace insets on graceful gray knits. Neither prim nor punk, Daelli captured a sensible medium for women who want fashion without the fuss.

Giuliana Teso: Fur is as hot as ever these days, making it the perfect season for fur specialist Giuliana Teso to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Drawing inspiration from Russia’s fin de siècle  imperial courts, Teso raised the bar on the luxe factor and loaded her collection with sable, chinchilla, astrakhan, Persian lamb and mink.

Teso worked her shapes and treated her furs every which way — form-fitting, generous and swingy, shaggy or sheared, mixed-and-matched, showered with Swarovski crystals or trimmed with faux pearls.

These were served up in black and a pretty array of colors, including wisteria, dusty blue and salmon. Standouts included a cropped belted jacket with shaggy collar, hooded snow-bunny styles and an ultraflat sheared mink coat with black beading. Teso showed her furs over simple knits, riding breeches and A-line skirts, clearly keeping the focus on her elegant furs.

Cividini: Piero and Miriam Cividini, the husband-and-wife team behind this brand, like to handle trends with care. That means plucking an idea or two and refining it for a customer who’s more interested in looking pretty than making a big fashion statement. These women crave practicality and quality, which is exactly what this light-spirited, feminine collection was all about. The couple played with contrasting textures — tissue-thin silks, crushed velvets, fur and, of course, knitwear, the company’s forte.

Layering can sometimes be a tricky business, but here it worked just fine, as evidenced by fuzzy mohair cardigans and gossamer tops over sheer blouses and jacquard or panné velvet skirts, and the wholesome-looking cardigans over ocher chiffon tops and printed skirts. To top it all off, the Cividinis completed the looks with fur or slim tweed coats.

Bally: Never one to bypass the company’s tried-and-true formula of sensible clothes and accessories, Bally ready-to-wear designer Luca Ragonesi still manages to deliver collections that balance elegance and a contemporary cool. This season, it showed up in the form of white deerskin blouson jackets over flared cotton drill pants, shaved shearlings with murmansky fur collars and thick cashmere sweaters with goatskin insets topping camelhair minis. All the better to play up the plethora of accessories that designer Johnny Coca churned out — high-heeled shearling boots and clogs, crocodile driving loafers, kitten-heel pumps with detachable pompoms and small shoulder bags with bold metal hardware in everything from orilag fur to calfskin.