Whether it was a picnic-worthy gingham frock or a cut-to-there maillot, the spring runways had many flirtatious options on offer.

Alberta Ferretti: After a season or two of a more polished, urban sensibility, Alberta Ferretti's inner goddess has spoken. She reclaimed her trademark twisting, tucking and draping techniques with gusto, sending out a legion of ethereal beauties swathed in jersey and chiffon dresses, some of which were cut high in the front and draped low in the back for a discreet sexiness. Pants were few and far between — three looks of the swishing, wide-leg sort. Save for a few floor-sweeping goddess gowns, like the soft mint green and white styles, Ferretti mainly addressed the cocktail crowd. All manner of romantic party frocks, mostly above the knee and embellished with rhinestone rosettes and armor-like chain mail, floated by with some shiny, pleated bubbled coats that added a modern touch. On the shortest side, toga-like minidresses and skirts worn with metallic gladiator flats channeled a pastoral nymphet. Not all designers can drape and twist like Ferretti, and she's right to flaunt those skills. But she should be careful not to mine Mount Olympus too much.

MaxMara: You can't dumb down Yohji Yamamoto. And why try, especially if your bread and butter is chic, tony, understandable clothes? The collection MaxMara presented on Thursday morning was an amalgamation of men's wear tailoring, athletic references and pink side trips, much of it twisted, turned, bunched and gathered up with a Japanese-inspired bow. The mannish mood clunked from the get-go, especially in those jackets cut with room to grow — about 50 pounds' worth. The bunching felt forced, and the reappearing pink cellophane, like an Easter gift from a messed-up bunny. The point of staging a slick editorial show should be to enhance rather than disguise what a house does best. Unfortunately, the opposite happened here.

Emilio Pucci: American Southwest by way of Japan is the best way to describe Matthew Williamson's most recent Pucci effort. With such disparate themes, it's no wonder he wandered off course. And, guess what, he also invoked the Seventies with a whiff of early-Eighties here and there. Feathered and fringed vests, crocheted ponchos, kimono sleeves, obi belts and slinky, fully sequined floor-length gowns threatened sensory overload, while boxy button-down shirts and tapered pleated pants left one scratching one's head. Of course, chief to Pucci are the prints. Williamson gave them a Navajo twist, turning the curlicues into angular patterns in dusty desert hues and pink-black-blue. They worked on dashiki-like shirts and dresses and beachy gowns. But Williamson was most successful where he had the least to work with: a colorful crocheted maillot worn by Anja Rubik.

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