Alber Elbaz! In the words of US Weekly, what's not to love? The roly-poly fashion designer is funny, wears glasses and bow ties, and seems like a real good time. Or at least this is what we concluded after attending the lunch held in his honor this afternoon by FIT and the Couture Council. Helmed by Chairwoman and Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey and her precious board (Chloe Sevigny, Demi Moore, Iman, Linda Evangelista), the Council set out to toast the man who makes really, really expensive and really, really beautiful shit. And toast him they did. First, Barney's Creative Director Simon Doonan took to the Rainbow Room microphone, explaining how Elbaz really likes chandeliers, funny shoes, and "local girls." (Long story.) Eventually, Elbaz himself took the stage: "What can I give ladies if they already have freedom, as given to them by Coco Chanel and power, as given to them by Yves Saint Laurent?" he asked. "By the way — have you all noticed my gold shoes?" Above, a few images from photographer Nikola Tamindzic's gallery of close to a hundred photos from the event (click to see entire set).

If you buy a diamond and put it in the bank, then you have power. But if you can say to someone, "I love you and I need you," then you are strong.

Yes, Alber Elbaz is giving women strength!

When I see the prices on my clothes, I am always shocked. But then I remember that what we are doing is building dreams. What I do in life is realizing dreams.

We hate to break it to Alber — who we think is brilliant and talented — but getting a room of fashion folk to eat risotto takes strength. Forking over several grand for one of his frocks — well, that just takes balls.