The luminous film of anemonelike threads expanding in an underwater world was a spectacularly appropriate prelude to Alberta Ferretti's show. She wanted her collection to communicate lightness, luminescence, and iridescence, and what better way to do that than to evoke the undulating liquidity of sea creatures? But how to carry such a notion into cloth? Ferretti managed it. She layered organza over fringed, beaded dresses in shades of seafoam and eau de nil, trapping the shimmer and movement so gorgeously as to suggest something viewed through sunlit sea. Octopod arms of embroidery trailed down other frocks. There were clusters of seaweed appliqués, a gown of sequined net, and sheer peplums that floated.

Some of Ferretti's outfits were so encrusted with embroidery that the effect was akin to barnacles on wharf posts. But her most oblique concession to the life aquatic was a set of tulle bodysuits that looked like they were tattooed with lace. They had a bare-naked audacity that would send a shiver down the spine of any old tar. The same lace peeked from under a dress and suit in shantung, which were likelier preludes to commercial success.

Curiously, the oceanic momentum of Ferretti's show lapsed when she paraded the eveningwear that is usually a strong point. Charmeuse mermaid gowns might have had the look of light reflected on water, but they somehow didn't rise to the level of so much of this collection.