With Super Tuesday and the Super Bowl parade both today, optimism is thick in the city's air. Backstage at Monique Lhuillier, the designer expressed confidence about an equivalent contest for red-carpet specialists like herself: the Oscars. "I hear the strike is almost over," she said. "And we did really well at the SAGs with America Ferrera and Marcia Cross."

That sunny outlook was also evident in Lhuillier's Fall collection, which she described as "over-the-top." And it was, at least to the degree that this designer will allow herself to go. Lhuillier doesn't do excess. Everything must be just right. Therefore, heavy embellishment—richly embroidered velvet and all-over cabochon-jeweled embroidery—came in clean silhouettes. Alternatively, the exaggerated ruffle on a gold cocktail dress meant no embellishment.

As for those red-carpet numbers, a sculptural organza gown was indeed OTT. One of the elegantly fluid, judiciously jeweled gowns, on the other hand, might strike just the right balance on Academy Awards night.