On the Scene: 3.1 Phillip Lim

One word: Ruffles. Frilly, flamenco-esque sheets of fabric dripped off nearly everything that glided down Lim's Bryant Park runway, passing underneath an ornate archway that hinted at the underlying Spanish theme. As Lim would tell us at the afterparty, "It was Spanish iconography, taken apart and taken back into urban clothes. With the bullfighter and matador in Spanish culture, there is such extremes: one part is gore and one is lust." Yikes! Gore, lust, or no, models skipped down the backs of gowns, skirts, boleros, and chiffon trenches; skirted the hem of a buttery black leather jacket, fluttered like angels wings from a long, flowing ivory caftan-like dress; and appeared in oversized flower-like clusters atop Christian Louboutin's heels. And in a show of real ingenuity, Lim even created ruffles from zipper-lined tiers of black silk organza for the collection's sexiest (and most covetable) number. While the men's pieces failed to register (seafoam blazers, silk charmeuse tees, and cummerbunds affixed with castanets?), this dressier-than-usual collection revealed that the buzz-worthy designer is ready to break out of his easy-chic casual box. The crowd—which included Nina Garcia, Joy Bryant, Anna Wintour, Kate Young, Grace Coddington—seemed more than happy to go along for the ride. An awkward moment happened when Elizabeth Banks, who is portraying Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's new George Bush biopic W, high-tailed it across the tent to introduce herself to young Barbara Bush and said super-friendly "Hi, I love your mother," she said as they shook hands. We couldn't see Barbara's face, or what she said, but she looked like a surly teenager who just met Dad's new girlfriend— polite, but very icy. Juliette Lewis, wearing some Lim of her own, told us she found the collection "breathtaking." "He keeps making these things for women that are so sensual and so different from the vulgarity of some things I've worn before," she confided, with an appropriate amount of self-deprecation. Pamela Love agreed, calling it "the most amazing Lim show—he definitely took it to the next level."

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