There was a lot of head scratching at the end of the Salvatore Ferragamo spring/summer 2014 show and I have a feeling one of those scratching his head was the line’s creative director Massimiliano Giornetti. The collection contains plenty of things that work and work well, but at the same time there were too many things that didn’t.

Consensus seems to be that it is difficult to balance the task Giornetti faces in holding true to the luxurious styles that are house traditions and moving the label forward with new silhouettes and ideas that embrace the future. Such talk is ultimately academic, though, and provides little excuse when a collection fails to excite at the cash register next spring.

What worked was snakeskin tinged in blue and green, especially when used on jackets and trench coats. Those flap-front kilt skirts? Yes, please. Definitely a good direction for spring. And the oohs and awws were loud enough to compete with the music when he finished the show with a glossy black trench.

But then, there were the pieces that must have looked good on paper and lost a lot in translation. There were the snake skin bra tops that, okay, fit with the trend in Milan of showing off one’s bra, but making the look about as disturbing as possible. Then, there were some strange, cropped, pinstripe jackets that I still haven’t quite figured out what they were doing. Morphing into peplum, perhaps, but caught half-way, frozen in fashio’s suspended animation? Oh, and don’t forget the sweaters that fastened up the back, ala Armani, but still left huge, gaping holes along the spine. “Did you see…” and “Could you believe…” were frequent phrases being muttered as guests quickly left the show.

One has to be careful about criticizing a designer like Giarnetti. We’ve seen enough from him in previous seasons to know that genius is likely to burst forth at any moment and no one wants to be caught dissing fashion’s next big wonder. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t that genius collection. Maybe next season.

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