MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Italian designers are coming on strong at the fall-winter collections, scoring with new ideas that include waist-skimming jackets, pants and skirts.

The mood is buoyant as store buyers jostle to place their orders.

Before the shows started, there was fear that the low buying power of the dollar would adversely affect orders. And there were also considerable jitters regarding all the publicity given recently to the fantasy fashions of Paris- based designer Christian Lacroix.

The Italians were worried that the success of their more sober type of elegance would be compromised. But their fear of this two-headed bogeyman appears to have been unjustified. And what's more, the sun has shone from a cloudless blue sky throughout, putting everybody in a good mood.

Laura Biagiotti, the designer who lives and works out of a medieval castle nestling in the countryside outside Rome, showed styles that were perfect for an elegant castle dweller.

There were soft cashmere ''horse blankets,'' ideal for keeping out the chill along the ramparts. They wrapped up comfy sweater-dresses, over-size twinsets or slim-fitting pants, all in flat knit.

Daytime colors were rustic: oatmeal, moss-green and maize. And there was moderation in the details with a more natural shoulderline, flat-heeled footwear and skirt-lengths just a fraction above the knee.

Biagiotti took Paisley-patterned fringed head scarves in fine wool and fashioned them into wraparound skirts and did an attractive series of that fashion indispensable, the ever-popular little black dress in velvet or silk crepe.

On a completely different wavelength was the baby doll look of the collection designed by Muriel Grateau for Complice. Models, with elfin hairdos, wore short, high-waisted styles with tight-fitting bodices and jauntily gathered skirts.

A brand-new girlish look for coats in double wool crepe featured a shoulder-framing cape collar and a broad martingale belt that tied tightly in a bow at the waist in back.

Party dresses came in the same style with waist gathers transferred to just under the bust while mini-skirts were decorated with frills and ribbon cockades.

Almost all the clothes at Complice came in a rich Titian red, lace-up shoes and stockings included.

There is a certain style that the Italian designers have always done beautifully: understated but elegant tailored blazers, well-cut pants and loose top coats in men's-type smooth woolens.

It is a look that is timeless and unbeatable, and the women of Milan love it. Basile did it for them again, tucking pants into the newly fashionable winter boots and putting velvet on collars for an even more well-bred air.