If pollsters followed fashion, they would surely note a spike in Thakoon Panichgul's approval ratings. Not only did Michelle Obama wear one of the young designer's floral frocks at the Democratic Convention—a real coup—but his patterned pieces have been seen daily at the tents on the backs of editors. For Spring, Panichgul delivered a number of options for dyed-in-the-wool Thakoon-ocrats, among which an organza seamed dress with a surreal print of roses sprouting legs and a black tulle-trimmed trench stood out as surefire hits. But he also took some chances that, while not actually politically incorrect, definitely could not be worn to the White House (Bra-backed apron dresses? Exposed and bound midriffs, anyone?).

"I always like a tough show," Panichgul explained in the run-up to runway day, "because what I do is more feminine than not, so I like the balance." Tough, for him, meant sexy. Panichgul used lots of nudes, corsetry, and a kiss print (worked into a fantastic gossamer trench). While the designer is certainly on the money with his contributions to the budding boudoir trend, it wasn't clear if he was simply playing to the crowd, so to speak, or sincerely exploring a new facet of his design DNA. Besides, you sense that the softer, more upbeat Thakoon will always have a better chance of winning the popular vote.