Cool and simple were the watchwords on the spring runways, designers toned it down with casual yet chic and pretty looks.

Yigal Azrouël: Mr. Azrouël is so lucky he pulled together a pretty collection. Due to a production glitch, a gaggle of editors had to wait outside his West 14th Street store, site of his spring show. For those stylish loiterers of the Pollyanna persuasion, the extra hour did offer a chance to pass time trawling the latest deliveries at Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney across the cobblestones.

Happily, when the crowd settled, Azrouël sent out a brief 20-piece lineup that reached a new level of savvy sophistication. And for once, his gowns, so long a favorite of socialites and actresses, took a backseat, making way for smart skirts, bermudas and shirts. He kept the mood easy and breezy — lots of crisp whites; fuss-free cotton skirts; a cool blue seersucker jacket that touched subtly on a Napoleonic theme. Couldn't you just see some lithe, young Hollywood thing in the cropped khaki gauchos and belted coat that was a chic meeting of a navy blazer and swingy cape?

But there are those ladies — Natalie Portman, Evangeline Lilly and most notably Maggie Gyllenhaal — who love their Yigal Azrouël party dresses. While the few long gowns lacked a little oomph, the shorter frocks, especially a pale purple jersey jacquard, more than made up for it. And here's a little heads-up for those who keep tabs on the red-carpet credits: Gyllenhaal, currently making the rounds at the Toronto International Film Fest, just had the delicate brown chantilly lace dress, cinched with an ice blue sash, shipped to her.

Brian Reyes: It's not news that hype can be both friend and foe, but it's a lesson that Brian Reyes may be learning this season. Early excitement about the 24-year-old designer's debut collection certainly got a crowd into his chairs, and while Reyes certainly had a fine first showing, there was perhaps more of a buildup than was necessary.

Of his former bosses — Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta — Reyes seems to relate most to the last. His collection appeared to make a bid for the same client — the skirt suit-wearing socialite, perhaps of a certain age. But Reyes was actually at his best when he steered toward ease and youth and away from the prim and ladylike — as in a simple and sportif cotton khaki hacking dress or a blousy chiffon tank paired with a full skirt. Evening, too, was a slightly spotty affair. A lace gown looked like a student's work, while another hacking dress, this time in chocolate chiffon, was lovely with a lace hem.Tocca: Newly appointed creative director Edoardo Mantelli and new design director Samantha Sung, formerly of Cerruti and Ralph Lauren, showed a new Tocca girl for spring, much less twee and prim than in past seasons and more relaxed and easygoing. Sung's debut collection for the line played with volume and raw, earthy materials such as shells, wood, coconut and rope detailing. Gauguin-inspired prints made for lovely day dresses and tunics, while more structured pieces such as navy jackets in cotton and linen rounded out the lineup.

Form: For his first collection under his label, Form, Jerry Tam kept his looks feminine with a modern edge, and he worked a silver theme, adding metallic tones to normally muted shades such as lavender, taupe and peach, which resulted in a shimmering, liquid effect. Tam emphasized draping, curves and princess cuts without making any of the pieces look too tricky — perhaps a trick he picked up while working with Zac Posen and Patrick Robinson at Perry Ellis. The inside-out pockets on his shrunken jackets and the double lapels, for example, while playful, were still smart, and his fluid tops easily could be worn in a variety of ways, valuing a sense of utility throughout. His trenchcoat summed up his entire collection — modern and intricate, yet easy and effortless, a look sure to be a hit among the cool, hip girls about town.

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