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Ah, the lithe French ingénue, in her minimalist cigarette pants and crisp white shirt.

The stuff of Céline dreams.

Until you realize those pants are $3,000 and that shirt, $1,000.

Maybe instead try Protagonist, a slightly more affordable option made here in New York.

Designer Kate Wendelborn is a former patternmaker, so she knows a thing or two about precision tailoring. And we love her love of flattering basics. (Just look at this midi skirt.)

Mark our words: She’s fashion’s next big thing.

The line has been around for a couple of seasons--already selling at Barneys and Soho’s loftlike boutique The Apartment--but it recently made a major statement with its Fashion Week debut. (Namely, with this coat.)

Now, by this point you’ve realized the stuff isn’t exactly a steal. (An interesting LBD will run you about $700.) But considering the hand-stitching and the thousands you’d otherwise shell out for the European version, we’re chalking it up to a smart investment.

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