party report, wild things

Wild Things
Girls, Gems, and a Jungle in Matthew Williamson’s New MePa Boutique
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Photo: Sherly Rabbani and Josephine Solimene

A herd of photographers outside Matthew Williamson’s first stateside boutique left no doubt as to where the fashion set was starting its party-packed Sunday night. When Mischa Barton—in a thigh-skimming, bead-laden Williamson shift—tried to skip past the shutterbugs, one of them tripped over a trash bag trying to get her picture. Inside, things were, well, not much calmer. Blame it on the decor: There’s a veritable jungle in there. A glass-encased rain forest is one of many over-the-top touches in the MePa space, but it was the bevy of starlets in high-wattage frocks that really caught the eye. Lindsay Lohan, Heidi Klum, and Anja Rubik joined Joy Bryant and Katharine McPhee in congratulating the designer, who shows his Fall ’09 runway wares to the New York set on Tuesday. “My show is very muted,” Williamson, in a tuxedo jacket with a paillette collar, said—and apparently he meant it. “The palette is quite subdued and feminine; it’s not so rainbow for me.” Besides some softer hues, however, the designer has few plans to pull back. “This is a moment to celebrate,” he said about opening his store amid talk of downsizing. “We have to look forward, we have to be positive.” Williamson fans may have something to look forward to sooner rather than later. The designer let slip that Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto has expressed interest in wearing one of his gowns at the Oscars.

— Alison Baenen