Richard Tyler: Too, Too Much

After his magnificent effort for Anne Klein last week, expectations for Richard Tyler's signature collection were high. Too high. For the most part, his clothes, though impeccably constructed, were just too heavy-handed.

Parts of Richard's collection looked just fine. His tailored pieces were cut with an intricacy unrivaled in New York, and his fabric mixes were beautifully buoyant. He got off on a good military note with fitted olive dresses and jackets, seamed and buttoned to a fare-thee-well, and he sent out plenty of those glammed-up dandy looks his Hollywood stars love. At night, he did his siren number, with a pair of knockout bias-cut charmeuse gowns, in brown with lace insets, and in a black diamond-patterned slip.

But while Richard's spring clothes were detailed with elegance if not restraint, this time out he buttoned, embroidered, bordered and otherwise bedecked everything with a frenetic gusto that too often buried the clothes.

Linda Allard for Ellen Tracy: The Real Thing

This was not only Linda Allard's first outing under the Bryant Park big top, it was also her first runway show. That didn't tempt her to pull any circus stunts, however. Linda just showed lots of what she does best -- real clothes. And with just about every major store chairman in her audience, it's obvious that the Ellen Tracy collection is a money-maker.

Allard jump-started her presentation with her young and snappy secondary line, Company by Ellen Tracy. In addition to sweet little schoolgirl suits and jumpers, Allard showed some terrific coats, including a worn, black leather rocker jacket and a long, hooded striped Tibetan number.

The designer's collection coats were also standouts, especially her shearlings over matching knits. Her military group looked crisp with navy midcalf coats over white shirts and navy leggings or a little trench jacket with a kilt. For evening, there were sexy double-breasted tuxedo suits worn with matching silk faille and suede to-the-knee boots. But Allard could have left some of the lackluster suits and the dated-looking belted knit dresses back in the showroom.

Donna Karan: She Is WomanDonna Karan is a woman on a mission. She's crusading for personal style, and in her program notes urges women to "pull it all together in a completely modern, sensual way." Her task, she says, it to offer choice, the tools, the whole works -- "woman to woman."

"Fitting real women with style and security, that's where it's at, " Donna said before the show. And she made her point by peppering her model roster with friends, older models and celebrities. Sheila Metzner, Andrea Marcovicci, Patti Hansen, Bianca Jagger, Dayle Haddon, Isabella Rossellini and Veruschka were among those who shared runway space with the regulars. It was a refreshing idea -- equal parts sweet and smart -- especially the finale in which everyone hung out in the spirit of sisterhood.

Donna certainly made good on her promise to offer plenty of choice. She threw her hat into the longer skirt ring with lengths that fell anywhere from just above the knee to just below. But she also showed the leggy little suit in seemingly endless variety: neon-brights with shaped, welt-seamed jackets; in flint cashmere with contoured skirts, and the newest way, with the jacket over a curvy little dress. There was butch -- pinstriped suits, reefer coats -- and babe -- lots of slip dresses and bustiers, sometimes mixed together.

Donna's coats were equally diverse, from big, mannish polos to a short, flared pink trench and the best of the bunch -- featherweight shearling "shells."

But everything has its limits -- especially variety. In her campaign to offer "Everywoman" the sartorial tools she needs, Donna sometimes lost her senses. The asymmetric and hanky hems were a mess, and those bunched-bodice, Empire taffeta ballgowns were for no women we know -- and certainly none who were on the runway.

Scaasi Boutique: Glitter Bug

All that glitters is not gold at Scaasi Boutique. Sure, there's lots of that metallic brocade, lace and embroidery, but there's also a raft of jazzy red dance dresses and gowns and long, full-skirted paisley challis numbers ablaze with tons of glitter that shout more than shine. As we all know, subtlety is not one of Arnold Scaasi's strengths, except when it comes to those draped matte jersey gowns -- this time in plum and putty. And that's when the collection is at its best. There's a smattering of browns this season, too, and Scaasi shows off this palette splendidly in his chiffon column with a draped torso and huge, matching shawl. But all those gussied up bows, bustles and garish gold buttons, not to mention the Maid Marion shoulders, almost endangered the real glamour species.

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