A rich vein of Latin American glamour ran throughout Valentino's Spring collection, which was heavily decorated with ruffles, folksy embroidery and waist-nipping corset belts.

The designer's strong palette revolved around black, with flashes of banana, coral, aqua and lipstick red. But the emphasis was clearly on the silhouette, notably in some truly elaborate, beautiful pieces like smocked taffeta dresses with beaded georgette shawls, romantic chiffon tops and long skirts accented with turquoise and salmon embroidery. A shocking pink coat, worn with a ruffled shirt and shantung trousers, was in the best Valentino tradition.

As usual, the designer saved his best for after 5. (This is, after all, the man who dressed Julia Roberts for her Oscar victory and Jennifer Lopez for her recent wedding.) Come red-carpet time, celebrity stylists will have no trouble finding plenty of scene-making gowns. Standouts? A black georgette column with bows; the combination of a ruffle-front ivory shirt and a high-waist fire-engine taffeta skirt with lace inserts; and a shirred tulle Aleutian extravaganza.