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Elie Tahari greets his (somewhat rabid) fans at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills

September 30, 2010 |  7:33 am

K0296-0446 At a runway show Wednesday night at Saks Fifth Avenue, Elie Tahari proved that there's more to his ultra-wearable collection than sharp suiting. 

The New York-based designer, whose eponymous collection boasts a sprawling (and I mean big) in-store shop at the Beverly Hills department store, hosted a cocktail party and runway presentation showcasing his fall 2010 collection to benefit the Junior League. Ten percent of all purchases made throughout the evening went to benefit the organization's charities.

And while the impeccably cut-but-basic trousers, neo-blazers and coats Tahari is known for were present and accounted for, there was also a sweeping new theatricality to the line, as seen in luxurious knitwear pieces, including a two-tiered cable-knit cape, a calf-grazing camel-colored shrug and a marled-knit hip-length belted vest — all of which elongated the body beautifully.

"It's all about traveling and glamour and Marlene Dietrich in 'Shanghai Express,'" Tahari said after the show. "We want to look fresh and look modern and sophisticated, but without making it trendy — but of course, there have to be some trends in it."

The reception accompanying Tahari's appearance at the show was something close to thunderous, with dozens of guests and Junior League members lining up to take photos with the designer, who describes his current customer as "smart and hot."

Tahari is also in town to fete his newly expanded store at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. "We have so many clients in that neighborhood," Tahari said of the revamped O.C. outpost. "It's definitely our demographic." The brand will host an invite-only party in tandem with home guru Jonathan Adler — who has a brand new store in the center — on Thursday night.

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: A fall 2010 look from Elie Tahari at the Saks Fifth Avenue event. Credit: Alex Berliner for Saks Fifth Avenue.