The season's splashy museum event in New York will be the opening of the next costume collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But while you're there, it would be worth the trip to go a mile up Fifth Avenue to the Museum of the City of New York. For an exhibit called "Cream of the Crop: The New Couture," Joann Olian, curator of the costume collection, and Phyllis Magidson, the associate curator, have chosen clothes from seven fairly unknown designers.

One of those designers, Sao, who uses a collage technique in her costumes, wall hangings and accessories, has a big following in Washington from her exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery, the Textile Museum and the Corcoran Gallery. Sao, whose full name is Maria da Conceicao, was born in Portugal and studied art in Denmark before moving here. Her new spring collection is far less artsy and much simpler than usual, and includes some of the prettiest organdy blouses this season. The pleating she uses as details on jackets and blouses is handcrafted for her in West Virginia.

Among the other designers in the show are Yeohlee, Jana and Claudia, Frank Agostino, Douglas Ferguson, and a young man who calls himself Jonathan. The exhibition will continue through mid-June.