Context changes everything. “Where you show a collection affects the way people view it,” Ruffian’s Brian Wolk explained last night at the label’s after-party—and perhaps, by extension, how a pair of designers see themselves. This season, Wolk and partner Claude Morais (left) showed at the tents for the first time ever, and dressed up accordingly in coat and tie. This was partially out of respect for Lincoln Center—”where Balanchine choreographed ballets and where Maria Callas sang,” Wolk remarked—but largely out of deference to the collection’s muse, an adventuring diplomat named Susan Travers. “It didn’t seem respectful to her not to dress the way she would have wanted her lover or husband to dress,” Wolk said.

And for the post-show celebration? Michael’s, the storied power-lunch spot where she would have wanted to munch on caviar and jumbo shrimp surrounded by blue-chip art and eighties haute design. The midtown restaurant has been seeing an injection of young blood lately—including, last night, Lance Bass and models Fernanda Motta and Julie Ordon. “We love to design clothing for women who live in cities with the word ‘Palm’ in them,” Wolk wisecracked. As might be expected, those women were elsewhere.