“How do you make the clothes a bit smarter?” As a designer of contemporary fashion that’s aspirational but not unattainable (as opposed to high luxury brands whose current prices give pause to even the most diehard of shoppers), Phillip Lim has made it a policy to build ingenuity into his clothes. His striped ribbed knit midi dress, for example, is entirely reversible, increasing its versatility and lowering its cost-per-wear.
Lim was back on the runway last season, but instead of a fashion show today, he organized an immersive presentation that will be open to the public all weekend long featuring his new designs and the work of other AAPI creators. There’s a photo and video installation by his frequent collaborator Jiro Konami, and free-for-the-taking posters of poems by young Asian writers on the themes of live, work, play, and love. “We wanted to make a collection that really encompasses and hopefully resonates with our women in every setting,” he said, making a connection between the poems and his own output.
Lim’s idea was to erase distinctions between work clothes and play clothes. This already more or less happens on the street: You see women tossing a statement coat over their workout leggings, pairing ankle boots with tracksuits, or wearing a denim skirt reconstructed from vintage jeans. Lim has a good feel for the dressed-up-yet-casual attitude of downtown New York. A sweat suit that combined French terry and cotton twill and a sergeant’s jacket and cargo pants combo that could stand in for a traditional tailored suit at the office were a couple of the clever ways he channeled those vibes here.