Max Azria is a busy man. He recently opened a new Los Angeles boutique, dressed Sharon Stone at Cannes, and sponsored Fashion Rocks. These divergent activities didn't, however, detract from his collection, which was more focused and polished than last season, despite the competition for the designer's attention. Azria has been obsessed with macramé for much of the 00's and he used it again for spring, this time more successfully, on top of soft jersey dresses. Long, vaguely ethnic cotton dresses had macramé details, which added some subtle interest.

Textural elements, which are building into a bona fide trend, were present at BCBG in gold and wood beading or new applications for canvas, and a flax-embroidered linen jacket worn by Lily Cole worked the trend with finesse. Full silk peasant blouses with twill shorts were well balanced, proportionally. A creamy leather cape topped a long dress, belts chicly cinched curvy coats, and almost everything was worn with snakeskin flats (or adorable distressed-canvas or printed Keds for BCBG). While a striped series and the balloon hems fell flat, the collection as a whole felt more personal, and less forced, than what Azria has done in the past.