Let other designers batten down the hatches against the flagging economy. Carolina Herrera's customers have recession-proof portfolios, and if they don't, they're not going to let it show by dressing in any old thing. The show's color palette was of the "If you've got it, flaunt it" variety: bright persimmon paired with hibiscus, teal faille trimmed in tweed, a marigold photo print. Black and white also played starring roles. Compared to her recent collections, embellishments had been scaled back; Spring is all about the ruffle. As for the silhouettes, though, they were designed for cocktail hour and beyond (with a few exceptions for lunch at La Grenouille).

Herrera has always loved a skirtsuit, but this season short Watteau-back jackets in duchesse satin came with pants cut cigarette-slim and cropped several inches above the ankle—the effect was vaguely toreador. She showed enough dresses for a season's worth of dinners, art openings, and galas. There were pretty party frocks in mille-feuille chiffon that had the unstructured ease of silk lingerie. The "important" gowns came in corseted silk cloque or lacquered black raffia (don't even think of sitting down in that one). A beaded, liquid jersey column in white with a black gabardine jacket slung over the shoulders was the winner of the bunch, though, not only because it captured a certain effortlessness, but also because, yes, it looked wallet-friendly: The blazer could do double duty with a T-shirt and jeans.