With fresh greenery at the back of a narrow runway, and springtime at the Jardins du Luxembourg for inspiration, Carolina Herrera sent out a resort collection of pretty, real clothes—the kind that will keep the social set in cocktail frocks and gowns all party season long. First out was a tongue-in-chic garden chair-print dress with a bow-front bodice. A black chiffon number with a draped, capelike back was another standout—both knee- and ankle-length frocks were paired with flat sandals for a welcome sense of ease. But there was plenty of drama in an orchid-and-black floral fils coupe organza gown with embroidered straps that evoked the Paris garden's scroll-like wrought-iron gates—her clients will be clamoring to wear it first.

When Herrera and her design director, Hervé Pierre, whom she brought out for a bow, did turn their attention to daywear, they didn't abandon the little details and witty embellishments that have become a house signature. A column of red glass buttons decorated a white cotton chair-print top, for instance, and a white patent-leather string belt decorated the waistband of a black polka-dot shirtwaist dress. But most charming of all were the violet-print faille trenchcoat and matching tote.