"I love dressing up, but I'm still young," Phillip Lim said today during his first Paris menswear presentation, at the city's breathtaking Mint. "So how do you keep elegance youthful?"

He found his answer in what he calls "sartorial idiosyncrasies"—hook-and-eye closure blazers, electric green and navy jacquards, evening sweatpants, and a sleeveless knit turtleneck pullover that he put over a suit and likened to a car cover. And yet for all those idiosyncrasies, there was a renewed emphasis on tailoring here, and an inquisitiveness and openness to experiment that pushed Lim's men's collection into a stronger space than it has occupied before. Take a lapel-less car coat: The designer was thinking about structure, but also about comfort, so while the front side is traditionally cut, the back is raglan, and it falls like a cardigan. Not a bad idea.

There's a space-age strain to Lim's designs that sometimes sends him a little far afield. A marled French terry sweat suit looked like a television's static fuzz. But for every piece that didn't quite come off, there was one with verve to spare.