Stacey Bendet, about to pop with her second child, modeled Fall's girl on a modern-day Auntie Mame. The concept, that is, and not the clothes—it was Mame's eclecticism, Bendet was careful to point out, and not necessarily her fab dressing gowns that inspired this season's collection. But there was an unmistakable flapper-era vibe to the presentation. Set in a gilded entry hall at the Plaza hotel, it included a live performance by the burlesque dancer Hazel Honeysuckle.

Before the crowds descended, Bendet said she'd been focusing on pants and experimenting with knits: "I wanted more separates, not just dresses," she explained. And while there were a few nice examples of trousers and tops—a pair of chocolate brown high-waisted cords worn with an open knit cardigan and a fur-trimmed blazer, for example—it was the dresses that really called for attention. Shiny with sequins or sheer with lace, they were party-ready. If they were a bit too costume-party-ready, a change of venue and a few styling tweaks—a simpler shoe here, one less strand of pearls there—should help lessen the shtick factor.