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Beloved on the West Coast for her universally flattering, wrinkle-proof basics, Babette Pinsky established her line of hand-pleated clothing long before the look became au courant.

Forty-three years later, the designer has eight eponymous boutiques in cities like Santa Fe, Chicago and Washington, D.C.--and now, a sprawling new flagship on Columbus Avenue.

Browsing the five current collections in the sun-drenched space, we found endless wardrobe possibilities: The tailored slim pants ($204) are fitting for work and long weekend walks; the delicate Ikat vest ($262) is both black-tie and barbecue appropriate; and the superlight nylon tees ($106) are indispensable staples.

Babette's approach to fabric and form is unlike anything we've seen: Her garments undergo an intense process of cutting, heating and pressing that has barely changed over the years--producing featherweight pieces with chic, crinkly textures that complement all body types.

With its perfectly lit fitting rooms, a spectacular selection of Me & Kashmiere scarves ($156) and a genius Transitions line of airy, Indian summer separates, we're calling this Columbus discovery one of a kind.

Babette, 353 Columbus Ave. (between 76th and 77th sts.); 212-780-0930 or

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