That vacant, thousand-yard stare so popular with today┐s models can be a bit of a downer. Is it really so bad up there? Today, though, Sonia Rykiel┐s girls had been told to ham it up, and it wasn┐t just their contagious grins that made the audience smile. Rykiel started with striped black-and-white knits in the shapes of next spring: the shirtdress, the mini, and the one-shoulder frock. From there, she moved onto maillots, some with cutouts, and L.B.D.s with mesh inserts forming trompe l┐oeil bows. Color came into the equation with ruffle-edged chiffon baby dolls and trapezes, along with duchesse satin shifts.

With their superwide legs and stiff jackets, denim suits in pink or white felt clumsy compared with the effortless dresses, as did a series of creamy, too-heavy-for-the-season cable sweaters. Recovering swiftly, this perennial knit-wit sent her girls out for the finale in a rainbow of strapless frocks woven on the front with women┐s faces in expressions ranging from pique to ecstasy. The effect: très charmant.