Stephen Burrows presented a strong spring collection yesterday, with his flair for the soft and sensual putting him right in step with the trend of other shows here over the past two weeks.

Burrows, 34, is a master of the sexy feminine look, whether in chiffon, crepe or jersey, and even in chamois. He uses elasticized or drawstring waistlines and drawstring necklines, partly for comfort but also "so that the clothes work differently for each woman."

New this season are petal collars, three-layer chiffons with uneven hems and high-cut sides that can be arranged to bare the leg or be discreet. Bright colors, once a Burrows hallmark, are back again, in such unexpected mixes as tapered, tied-front pedal pushers, shorts and tops. There were also new colors for chiffon - slate blue, gray and celery, which had at least one buyer going on enthusiastically.

Tiny prints, which Burrows calls his "doodles," are also new. And a familiar touch, lettuce edging, which has been copied up and down Seventh Avenue, turned up this time as pinked edges on his chamois jackets, often done Indian style with long fringes.

Except for some scandals, he has abandoned the heavy metallic look that marked his designs for this fall. His models yesterday were wearing rolled-down socks in bright colors, with scandals for day time. They sported the spikiest heels around for evening.

Unlike most of the designers who showed their clothes in New York in the last two weeks. Burrows' clothes are never very inflated or oversized.

Jackets are often loose and skirts flared or pleated, but mostly the designs are shaped near the body rather than flowing away from it.

That, plus the discreetly placed but deep slits here and there, are what help make the clothes show off the body well. "You'd have to say the clothes are very sensuous, rather than sexy," declared Jean Rosenberg, vice president of Henri Bendels, which sells the clothes in New York. (Saks Jandel and Bloomingdale's handle them in Washington.)

Meanwhile, Burrows, on hand for the show on Bendel's second floor, was grousing half-seriously about his difficulties with spring. "I don't really see it as a true season," he said.

Nevertheless, Bruce Binder, corporate fashion director for Macy's, found the collection "just as good as Paris." That's good news for Burrows, who, together with Scott Barrie, will be taking his fall collection exactly there next April, the first American designers to try to take on the French in their lair.