"Maybe you wouldn't have expected this from me," Reem Acra
said at a preview appointment. The designer has always had a flair for extravagance, so it was something of a surprise to discover her toned-down collection for pre-fall. She called it a concession to retailers in this significant season for sales. Instead of her familiar allover beading and embellishment, Acra showed restraint, lightly sprinkling a long-sleeve black sheath with crystals at the neckline, and updating a cerulean caftan with a simple gold keyhole. It wasn't all about simplicity. Princess ball gowns are a hallmark for the designer, so she had to include a few here, but the lineup would've been stronger without them. We've seen so many on the red carpets lately. A figure-hugging gold lace number with a trumpet hem and a bejeweled tulle jacket nicely combined Acra's more-is-more tendencies with her new understated side.