Elie Saab's bread-and-butter is red-carpet clothes. But watching his show didn't conjure the glamour of celebrity so much as it did the tyranny of celebrity magazines, the trashy must-reads in which the stars' wardrobe choices are more often lambasted than cheered. Why? Because, in a risk-averse collection, the personality had been all but removed from the majority of Saab's gowns. Or maybe it was the sheer variety that numbed.

Inspired, his program notes said, by Mondrian's canvases, the designer cut his evening dresses in bright primaries like kelly green, deep red, and sky blue, along with black, and in styles that ranged from a strapless, narrow sequined sparkler to an entirely unrelated lawn gown that billowed in soft layers below the bust. In between, there were taffeta-and-velvet combos, lace, and countless bows.

Fewer in number were the chiffon dresses in multicolor Mondrian prints (the best a tiered halter that tied saucily in a long bow at the neck) and a pair of black-and-white De Stijl-influenced columns. Graphic and bold, they didn't play it safe like the others. Which means the gossip rags won't like them, but we did.