Nothing says modern luxury like the casual dismissal of material excess. The companies that operate on the most elevated strata of the fashion industry are all trying to outdo each other with the lightness of their products. But they'd be hard-pressed to beat this Berluti collection. Artistic director Alessandro Sartori showed pieces cut from a kangaroo leather so thin it could have been a sheet of paper. Jackets were de-stuffed of any internal construction, which already made them featherweight, but they were woven from a silk/paper combination that made them even lighter. Paper might have been the secret ingredient. The designer also had it woven with cotton and wool to create airy but surprisingly resilient fabrics for suits and jackets. When he wasn't obsessing about weight, he was brooding on texture. Berluti's reputation was built on leather. With this collection, calfskin was sealed with a waterproof membrane to create a finish that felt talc-ed, powdery to the touch. The same finish was used for shoes. What made this high-touch factor so attractive is that it was combined with color of an unusual intensity in leather. It was ultimately color that sold this collection in its presentation, simply because there is no way the huge audience that filled the garden at the Musée Picasso was going to get close enough to the clothes to appreciate what they're really all about. Alessandro Sartori was inspired by the relationship between Chandigarh, the Indian town designed by Le Corbusier, and the natural environment that surrounded it. Brutalist intellectual concrete vs. the intense colors of India. No contest. But Mr Sartori actually had all his fabrics dip-dyed in gray before the other colors were applied with the pigments that are used for dyeing wool. A conceptual point to be sure : concrete gray as the foundation for Berluti's glorious mineral shades, turquoise, zircon yellow, neptunite navy blue, and so on, with a special mention for iolite violet. But concept is something the designer has proved himself comfortable with in the past, particularly at Z Zegna. Setting a challenge, conceiving of a lateral solution -is that how the new Victor shoe came to be made from one piece of leather ? Despite the little piece of theater involving dozens of boxer-short-clad, Berluti-shoe-wearing, deck-chair-lolling models on the way into the venue, the sense lingers that a fashion show is too ordinary a vehicle for what Alessandro Sartori is attempting at Berluti. Which only means it's exciting to imagine the lateral solution he might come up with to that challenge.