People who scope out the red carpet with the intensity of a Red Sox fanatic at Fenway Park will recognize Peter Soronen's name. Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker have been "papped" in his dresses. An expert corsetiere, Soronen started selling his pieces at Barneys six years ago. "Peter's work appeals to a very discerning customer, someone who can have anything she wants," commented Julie Gilhart, the store's fashion director. Now, for the first time, Soronen has made the jump to the runway—and his debut, while hardly flawless, served to give a wider audience a good idea of what this designer's all about.

A ribbon-laced corset made of sheets of copper was mainly a showpiece (or a fetishist's special order), but a cream satin flute-back gown with jet embroidery was not unworthy of Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina. An asymmetrical scarlet satin gown had Dita Von Teese's name written all over it; yes, Soronen's aesthetic tends toward the forties. Anomalous, but beautiful, was a chiffon gown printed with forest-floor flora: While corseted, it emphasized flou over form. A bit of Soronen trivia for those obsessive fans out there: He has fashioned Napoleon and harlequin stage costumes for Fischerspooner, the electroclash duo that did his runway music.