There was new mom Naomi Watts making her way through the crowded Chelsea gallery space, but Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig's assured Spring collection showed the duo moving away from the red-carpet territory in which they made their reputation. Yes, they trotted out a few paparazzi-friendly pastel gowns with crystal-beaded bodices. More intriguing, however, to the fashion watchers in the room were the cocktail-hour options—like a tiny corset dress that sparkled at the sides, a bateau-neck lace number with a plunging back, and a flapper-esque tank in white beads with a gray ribbon belt. A black lace jacket and navy georgette-satin camisole worn with matching pleat-front pants stood out in the roomful of bare legs.

Color was also key. "We looked at the British Raj, the fusion of Indian and Victorian England culture," said Craig. "When we decided to launch Marchesa four-and-a-half years ago, we were in India." A shocking-pink dress with a cutout back was hand-encrusted with miniature mirrors. Less literal were a pair of strapless styles, one short and one blossoming in tiers to the floor, with heavy gold beading. With Chapman's beau, Harvey Weinstein, the new owner of Halston, Marchesa's profile keeps rising. Happily, so do the duo's ability and ambition.