How do you define graceful glamour?

For New York designers, the look takes on many forms - from pretty florals to Hepburn-esque trousers to all-out sexy gowns.

Badgley Mischka: Not everyone chooses to use a single fashion show to billboard a full range of collections and accessories licenses. But for the second consecutive season, Mark Badgley and James Mischka are chasing the lifestyle grail, converging their entire concept on one runway. At the end of the day, it's a glamorous vision and one that works best after eight o'clock — swimwear, a gorgeous beaded ombré maillot in particular, notwithstanding. The sportswear was pretty and polite, but the stellar lineup of glitzy swimsuits and gowns shone far more brightly by comparison. A touch of the Twenties with a Seventies sensibility was evident in a lovely drop-waist beaded tulle dress and a dramatic silver-and-black tulle gown. And, while a parade of 20-plus evening looks easily could devolve into a beaded chiffon blur, these gowns were all special enough to stand alone.

Marchesa: Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are for real. They infused their spring Marchesa with a polish that transported the collection from mere megaglamour to glamorous chic. Already last season the designers proved that they could get the quality thing down — here they displayed an ability to take a theme and run gently with it, shaping the richness of a Raj motif, not into costume dramatics but gorgeous fare distinctive enough to stand out on the red-carpet crowd, yet sufficiently controlled to avoid folly. And, since the awards circuit makes for a limited market, Chapman and Craig also are broadening their range into the short evening arena, where they proved equally adept whether going all-out sexy with black corsetry or more romantic with gentle dresses shot through with glistening metallics.

L.A.M.B.: As one of the three fashion-designing pop stars with a modicum of sartorial credibility, Gwen Stefani must feel the pressure. Not only is the fashion world keeping a close watch, but her legions of fans are, too. If the latter seek to imitate their platinum-blonde idol's personal style, they're in luck. Stefani's spring collection was replete with looks that easily could be plucked from her wardrobe trailer. Sexy pencil skirts, skinny pants with zipper details, short shorts in bold colors and black-and-white checks — her signatures were all there. The lineup proved Stefani's a master of glam-rockabilly, not to mention leopard prints mixed with adorable basics. And, while we know Stefani can pull it off, the challenge for others will be making these clothes look as interesting as she does.

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