One nice side effect of attending presentations is overhearing reactions among the crowd. At Marchesa’sWednesday afternoon presentation in Chelsea, the guests were openly rapturous. “If I were getting married again, I’m going to wear that,” a woman told her friend as she pointed to a white tulle gown so airy it appeared spun out of meringue. “Wait until you see this one!” a man excitedly exclaimed to his friend as they turned a corner into a new vignette.

Each season, Marchesa designersGeorgina Chapman and Keren Craigwhip up delicate, luxurious gowns that later grace editorial spreads and red carpets. Expect this season’s Madame Butterfly-inflected collection to be no different.

The collection’s themes were sensuality and the “fragility of love,” Chapman says, flanked by gowns with laser-cut floral details, chiffon and crepe. In a subtle but chic touch, models wore nude pantyhose silk-screened with faded black roses, that made the women look as if they intricately tattooed their legs years ago.  Some of the patterns ran all the way up the legs, others hovered around the ankles. Peeking out of a hem, the effect was head-to-toe accessorizing that complemented the sumptuous detailing without looking over-styled.

Luxury consultant Robert Burke noted that Marchesa’s unwavering position at the highest end of the market is smart, even despite the current retail climate. “Marchesa’s been very focused on what they do best, which are incredibly beautifully-executed evening dresses, and the quality has gotten more exquisite over time,” he says. “They’ve positioned themselves as the ultimate evening dress designer. From there, they can go into multiple categories of business.”

“I think it’s really important to stay true to who you are and true to your customer,” Chapman says. “To water down what I do doesn’t feel right.”