Phillip Lim's first-ever runway presentation got off to a frustrating start when an eager crowd had to wait in the near dark to gain access to their seats. But all was forgiven once his lovely show began. Working almost exclusively in white, with a few shots of navy, as well as a colorful floral, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist proved that he's not only a romantic—handmade rosettes decorated a T-shirt dress—but also an accomplished tailor. Lim can do simple, as demonstrated by a pair of high-waisted, pleated slacks, but he can also do complex: the crepe de chine blouse paired with those pants came with delicate sleeves of pleated tulle.

Lim has a knack for combining the dressy and the casual—take a cotton voile strapless bell dress paired with a men's leather pilot vest, for instance; or a girlish jumper with an attached bodice made of sequins. Is it day or evening? His clients couldn't care less. More so than most young designers working today, Lim knows how fashionable women want to dress.