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On a sultry Tuesday night in SoHo, recent CFDA award winner Phillip Lim lured his loyal fan base down to his new Mercer Street store for a Veuve Clicquot Champagne reception. And though the designer claimed he had the AC cranked full-blast, the jam-packed atmosphere had guests fanning themselves and complaining about the heat.

But that didn’t stop John Legend, Marcus Wainwright, David Neville, Amanda Brooks and a slew of editors and cool chicks from perusing the racks and congratulating Lim on the new space.

This story first appeared in the July 19, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For Debra Messing, decked out in a 3.1 Phillip Lim dress and headband, the affair was a long-awaited opportunity to don one of his looks.

“I wanted to wear this white dress of his to a premiere of ‘The Starter Wife,’ but people kept telling me that white doesn’t work for television,” Messing said. “I kept pushing and telling them they didn’t know what they were talking about but in the end I wore a Carolina Herrera, with color.”

Catalina Sandino Moreno was less passionate about her stylistic choices.

“I like fashion but I’m not a fashion slave,” explained the actress, who had never met Lim before. “I’m too shy to just go up and introduce myself. Maybe after a couple more of these,” she said with a nod toward her Champagne flute.

The designer was indeed inundated with hugs and photo ops. How did he explain his overwhelming appeal among the ever-fickle Hollywood starlet set?

“I don’t design with them in mind,” he mused. “I refine them without defining them.”

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