The front row wedged tight with actresses, heiresses, princesses, and the Dellal women immediately had the antennae twitching. What has Daniella Helayel been doing to snare such a constituency? One thing was immediately obvious: She hasn't been making too many demands on them. The Issa show offered a random grab bag of easy, fluid shapes in light, floating fabrics. The parade of girlishly sweet white dresses at the finale were Helayel's "lucky" dresses—her best-sellers—and they looked prepped for partying on Copacabana come New Year's Eve. That's what Issa is all about—feel-good clothes for the live-fast set.

A broderie anglaise smock top, a royal-blue peasant dress, or a poufy-sleeved chiffon gown with an elasticated neckline somehow suggested something Zorro's gal pal might wear. Issa's roots are, after all, Latin. But Helayel also laid on an international gloss: a white halter-neck jumpsuit, a silver silk skirt with a banded knit top in the same shade. And was that the skort beloved of Marc Jacobs? As Helayel made her way down the runway at the show's end, the Issalites cheered. The secret of her success may simply be that she lives their life, knows their needs—and that's a business right there.