Fashion has finally caught up with Phi. Andreas Melbostad has been working the badass eighties vibe—with sophistication and finesse—for several seasons now. Each show draws a more stellar front row, attesting to the relevance of the designer's sexy take on engineered dressing.

"You know I love my textures," Melbostad commented prior to a show that featured lots of zippered leather, sequins, corsetry details, color-blocking (inspired by Richard Lindner's paintings), and the collaging of classic utilitarian pieces like biker, bomber, and aviator jackets into substantial, iconic-looking outerwear. (The refashioned creepers that accessorized the show added a nice of-the-moment touch.) "We really wanted to move strongly forward despite the economy," the designer said. "These times make you feel very strongly about what you represent. What we stand for is a tough urban idea but with attention to finishings, cut, and quality." All of this was effectively communicated, even if the show had too many variants on Melbostad's chosen themes. Still, aerodynamic second-skin aviator dresses and come-hither (but don't-mess-with-me) leggings are sure to fly at retail, as are his leather pieces.

Melbostad has accomplished a lot in his short tenure at Phi. Now that the pack has caught up with him, his challenge will be to stay a step ahead in seasons to come.