With pastel visions of Ladurée macaroons dancing in her head, Lhuillier was in a sweet and delicate mood. "I wanted to embrace femininity," she said after the show. In contrast with last season's set, which featured a giant architectural curl of brushed steel suspended over the runway, Spring's had a painted backdrop of porcelain flowers.

Lhuillier said she had found herself draping directly onto the dressmaker's form as she worked on the collection. And so there were cocktail frocks and evening gowns wrapped gently around the body, ending in asymmetrical necklines that were vaguely Grecian (but thankfully not overtly Grès). As is to be expected with a confectionary theme, there were sugary moments, including the frothy tulle looks and a tiered nude gown painted with tiny flowers. To her credit, these somehow weren't fussy.

The designer offered a few points of difference: a couple of requisite L.B.D.'s; slim, unembellished chiffon dresses in dusty colors; and the terrific big-night alternative of high-waisted black trousers and a ruffled blouse. Similarly simple was a fluid silk-jersey dress that approximated an ultrachic toga with an assymetrical flat-ribbon strap. Corsets were also part of the story, paired with high-waisted pencil skirts for day and adding structure to airy gowns for after eight.

This was classic Lhuillier, and it underscored why she's an eveningwear presence to be reckoned with. Instead of tricks and just-for-the-runway gimmicks, she gave us uncomplicated elegance. The proceedings may have lacked a directional element, but in this case it was a forgivable sin.