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The resort dilemma: cough up the bucks for a real show, or present no frills in the showroom? More and more designers are swinging toward the former option.

As we see it, that makes perfect sense — with a caveat. Though the season’s traditional reality quotient is largely revered, any fashion show should be a little, well, showy. On Monday, Oscar de la Renta found a delightful balance between slick and low-key, even if he did go on a bit long. (Note to all designers: In terms of showing, it’s still an interim season. How about capping off at 40 looks?) De la Renta booked the ever-so-convenient 583 Park Avenue, which formerly housed a Christian Science church. There he installed a grand ellipse of a runway for a delightful lineup that ranged from soigné nauticals to beachy ballgowns, a soupçon of retro apparent less in the clothes than in the models’ upswept coiffures and auras of pretty serenity. And ever Senor Suave, de la Renta came up with a chic solution to the challenges of a truncated front row: seat the wife and daughter in row three.

Tedious pacing made Luca Orlandi’s Luca Luca show seem twice as long as it was. But the clothes were often appealing, a few well-controlled frills mixed in with jaunty constructed shapes finished with architectural flourishes.

Zac Posen opted for a series of ultracasual mini shows at his Laight Street headquarters. Though his muse du jour is Bonnie Parker (à la “Bonnie and Clyde”), Posen wisely limited overt homage to jaunty berets and some charming body-conscious knits. Of course, this designer has always veered toward the lean, mean and sexy, which no doubt drew him to Ms. Parker in the first place. The collection, he said, “is all a little bit dangerous.”

This story first appeared in the June 5, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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