This year marks the 10th anniversary of 3.1 Phillip Lim. The occasion prompted Lim to take stock, and consider the essentials of his brand. His Pre-Fall collection was in some ways a greatest hits, a montage of his signatures. This time out, though, Lim took a somewhat different approach: His latest collection was a reconsideration of the 3.1 Phillip Lim aesthetic, and it found him deconstructing himself, the better to create a new language with the brand vocabulary he”s established over the past decade. The key elements were in play—punchy takes on sportswear staples, menswear-inspired tailoring with a femme-y touch, a streetwise attitude. But Lim was literally working those themes free here, emphasizing silhouettes that were a little undefined, or, in his own word, “haphazard.”
A running motif in this collection, which also served as a metonym for the whole thing, was the strapping throughout. Lim often left his straps dangling, both to introduce a sense of movement and to underline the idea that these clothes were unbound. That notion was echoed in the collection”s many handkerchief hems and layered asymmetries, as well as in the unraveled effect of frayed denim, distressed and eyelash knits, and lace that looked like it was in the process of disintegrating. One of the hardest things for any designer to accomplish is a convincing ersatz look, and for Lim—a creature of discipline—it”s not an approach that comes naturally. But for the most part he managed it with aplomb. There were a few looks that seemed to be reaching too hard for an effect, but many more seemed authoritative and specific, even in their ersatz-ness.
The strongest ensembles were the ones that seemed in dialogue with themselves, like the eyelash sweater in gray worn with a rather stern burgundy wrap skirt, or the top of white bias-cut silk, appliquéd with that disintegrating lace, that Lim paired with straightforward nylon cargo pants. Sometimes that conversation between discipline and disorder was to be found in a single gesture, like the scarf of fabric draped over one side of a black double-breasted wool coat. There were a lot of punk references here—not a new thing for Lim, but for the first time he seemed to be buying what he was selling. Break the system. Start with your own.
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