Zac Posen: Life isn’t all a great big glam fest. But a girl can dream, and if she finds a designing soul mate along the way, all the better. Zac Posen’s her guy. For him there is no more enchanting a muse than a serious party girl.

On Thursday night Posen showed a collection for just such a girl. It made for his best collection yet, as he seemed to work through — and for the most part throw away — the campier elements characteristic of his past efforts. And that’s no small feat, since like his muse, Zac barely endured the banality of clothes for day. Sure he showed a cursory jacket or two, little puff-sleeve blouses and a quite good wool lace coat. But for the most part, if the occasion calls for something more buttoned-up than a high flirt-factor dress, he really isn’t interested. Unless, of course, you’re talking skintight separates with a Forties attitude and major snake embroidery. Otherwise, he was more than happy to focus on evening, which he did with considerable range and increasing maturity. Make no mistake, these were still done-up, high-impact clothes, but most will transition easily beyond runway theater to real-life soirée. He went short with pleated gray charmeuse or gold voile finished with a flurry of ruffles, and long with a range from major flou to hot canary construction. Among the best: the Grecian-inspired, pleated goddess dresses, waistlines wrapped in thick golden coils. And if once or twice he lapsed into the stuff of clunky furs or a bridesmaid’s surfeit of pastel chiffon, who cares? For the most part, Posen’s dresses looked plenty alluring, delivered as they were with a certain restraint while retaining that sense of risky exuberance that feels right from the twentysomething set.

Derek Lam: It’s possible that Sean Combs, who had requested an invitation to Derek Lam’s two o’clock show on Friday, enjoyed himself too much at Zac Posen’s after party the night before, since he was a no-show. Nevertheless, the empty seat with his name on it triggered inevitable speculation that he might be looking for another fashion investment.

Certainly, anyone looking to invest in a fledgling house would be well advised to give Lam a look. His fall collection played like a dream, and while at times it felt a tad Chloé-ish, it indicated savvy movement from the vintage-y look that had dominated his previous work. In its place was a mood that was fresh, relaxed and oh-so-pretty. It’s summery feel was intentional, inspired by stylish young things Sienna Miller and Kate Moss, as well as by more practical concerns. Lam noted that keeping the attitude and the fabrics light made the collection better suited to a range of climates.

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