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Alessandro Dell’Acqua: A cascade of exotic flowers and palm leaves and a towering crystal chandelier were the two contrasting elements that set the pace for Dell’Acqua’s Victorian-style jungle queen.

The designer fused the two worlds by rotating the themes: A palm tree-printed silk dress preceded a white shift with broderie anglaise; a handful of knitted wrap-around skirts, cardigans and dresses with a parrot-and-foliage motif — these rather dull — came and went in between scalloped skirts paired with dainty chiffon tops or pleated-front blouses, while white jackets with jungle embroidery gave way to lace handkerchief dresses.

Evening was more about ballroom twirling than dangling off a liana. Dell’Acqua introduced Number 1, a limited edition of couture-like dresses, like the blush silk chiffon gown glowing with macro antique Swarovski crystals and a black cocktail dress with silver embroidery and crystal trim.

Luisa Beccaria: No matter what direction fashion takes, Luisa Beccaria’s passion for feminine, gentle clothes stays. And spring was no exception. The designer described her collection as part Lolita and part bohemian, with a whiff of eccentricity. “There’s lots of daywear with an ironic and glamorous play on materials and prints,” she said.

The first group summed up the glamour factor: shifts, peacoats, peasant blouses and bouncy skirts, exquisitely fashioned from the lightest of silks, in an azure wallpaper floral print. That charming mood continued with fluttery silk dresses with velvet straps, striped granny blouses paired with full skirts and frilly polkadot panties peeking out from short tunic dresses with cutout motifs. But Beccaria’s très charmant cocktail mix isn’t only for gamine types. Just ask Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron, who are all Beccaria aficionados.

Antonio Berardi: Combining historical references with contemporary femininity, Antonio Berardi’s spring collection was a frivolous romp that would have amused Marie Antoinette or any queen bee in the waiting. Berardi showered his modern-day courtiers with his juxtaposition of tailoring and flou — balancing leg-of-mutton sleeves and cascading ruffles with fitted bodices, nipped jackets and slinky trenches, including a stunning crystal mesh matelassé mac created in collaboration with Swarovski.

Wanton and overly lavish at times, Berardi successfully reined in those tendencies with terrific black dresses and layered ivory silks. The Anglo-Italian designer, a rollicking showman at heart, mined his British side to quirky effect, piling on books to create a layered mad hat or embellishing floral chiffon dresses with rock-size pink crystals. For better or worse, he wants to give girls more than just their daily dose of fashion. As Madame Antoinette said: “Let them eat cake.” It seems Berardi would agree.

This story first appeared in the October 4, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Stephen Fairchild: The name Stephen Fairchild gave to his spring collection says plenty. He dubbed it “Mash” to indicate his preference for pieces and a casual, mix-it-up sensibility. Guests who ambled through the minimalist, all-white chambers of the home store Cyrus Company saw the clothes in both still-life installations and on models. The intimate groupings made a smart way to show off the collection’s various moods, unified by a pleasant undercurrent of ease. Fairchild went boho with a hint of that essential African influence for airy printed tunics with asymmetric hems, and racier for a group of sexy black jersey dresses. And for the girl who likes color that doesn’t shout, he showed fluid shapes in dusty lavender and pink. It all made for an appealing perspective on real-world dressing, and a savvy way for Fairchild to begin his relationship with BFM Industria, his new manufacturer.

Blugirl: Who needs a cannoli when you can satisfy your sweet tooth at Blugirl? Anna Molinari’s spring collection was exactly right, taking elements from her grown-up Blumarine — think ladylike bohemian pared down for all those jaunty young things. Blugirls are never fully dressed without a smile, and these girls sported them like an accessory, skipping and twirling down the runway. After all, these clothes are meant for fun.

Molinari started with a burnt-umber palette. Djellaba tops in pumpkin and pale salmon were paired with little sequined or tiered cotton minis; sometimes she went for the gold and finished off hippie dresses with rows of sequins. A ruffled teal camisole was cute when shown over a brown flounced skirt. But even tree-hugging gals like to party, so Molinari ended with more tiers than a wedding cake in minidresses in pink or floral-printed mint with bows all askew, all good enough to eat.

Cividini: Piero and Miriam Cividini never seem fazed by the ebb and flow of fashion trends and misses. Let other designers spin furiously to catch up to the look of the moment; this husband-and-wife team contentedly focuses on their specialties — paperweight knits, cerebral graphic prints and the occasional quirky draping.

For spring, the pair anchored their unassumingly pretty collection around contrasting fabrics to alluring effect. Lurex jacquard nipped jackets gave substance to gauzy fitted knits, while canvas patchwork-on-shimmery velvet dresses gave eveningwear a casual appeal.

The show notes said that mix-ups and confusion could be “harmonious” if crafted in the right way. Apart from the strange musical choice of Eminem and D12, the couple achieved such harmony with a layered, textured and lighthearted collection.