[FASHION] Phillip Lim Makes a Statement in White
- Phillip Lim makes a statement in white
Among several knockout lines from up-and-comers, at least one star
By Booth Moore, Times Staff Writer
NEW YORK As the fashion flock started its annual rush around the
city for the spring shows on Friday, around every corner there was
another reminder street vendors in Times Square peddling crystal
figurines of the Twin Towers; a wire fence decorated with
commemorative tiles in an empty lot in Greenwich Village; hundreds
of New York City firefighters in their dress blues on Fifth Avenue,
waiting to go into St. Patrick's Cathedral for a memorial service.
The organ music was so loud, tourists stopped to listen out on the
street, and to buy hot dogs from the umbrella carts.
Even as the fifth anniversary of 9/11 loomed in the background, the
city felt more alive than ever. Hotels were booked, new buildings
were going up and the U.S. Open was being played out in Flushing
Meadows. There were festivals and parades on every side of
Manhattan. And of course, there were the fashion shows.
The first weekend is the time to see up-and-comers and on Sunday, a
star was born: Phillip Lim, a native of Los Angeles, whose nearly
all-white collection was thoroughly modern and above all wearable.
In a world saturated with celebrities and socialites, he addressed
the new VIPs everyday women with thoughtful, easy pieces that
sell for less than $1,000. He put a new spin on fall's spare
minimalism, marrying it with the romantic trend emerging for spring.
And his technique, the rigorous pleating and sculpting, brought all
that is great about couture together with the accessibility of ready-
The first knockout look was a simple white T-shirt dress decorated
all over with hand-sculpted white rosettes. What a brilliant idea,
to take everyone's favorite white T-shirt and turn it into something
so chic. A white coat had the same hand-sculpted rosettes as
closures, and by executing it in bleached burlap, which has a nice
heft and texture to it, he kept it from being too sweet.
The 33-year-old designer debuted his 3.1 Phillip Lim collection in
the fall of 2005, and it already sells in L.A. at Barneys New York,
Fred Segal, Traffic and Satine. But the buzz about Lim is just now
reaching a crescendo. This was his first proper runway show and the
introduction of his menswear. He studied finance at Cal State Long
Beach, switching majors midway through to study fashion. Lim started
working with Katyone Adeli, then spent four years at the helm of
L.A.-based contemporary label Development. In 2005, he moved to New
York to launch his namesake business.
Two of spring's emerging shapes are the high-waist paper-bag skirt
and the jumper, and Lim offered great renditions of both the skirt
with a pair of rosettes at the waist and the jumper in white lace
with camp pockets in front, worn over a watercolor floral cotton
The flower theme unfolded on a stunning short-sleeve shift dress
with a rounded collar and layered chiffon bib. On the back, chiffon
petals floated gently around the shoulders. A cream crepe de Chine
blouse with full, pleated opera sleeves should please those who
don't like to go sleeveless, paired with high-waist double-faced
cotton trousers. And a cocoon dress in white silk chiffon with two
sheer straps gathered into a rosette between the shoulders was
pretty enough for a beach wedding.
It made the flower-inspired collection from Thakoon Panichgul
another talked-about newcomer all but wilt. Puffy petalsleeved
blouses, layered tulip skirts and peony print dresses with appliquéd
blossoms felt overdone and precious.
Practicing a signature
The weekend's other standout up-and-comer was Jenni Kayne. The L.A.
designer, whose fall outing was a little wobbly, proved her staying
power with a tight group of sportswear to take a woman on vacation
from dawn to dusk. Mischa Barton and Lake Bell showed up to cheer
Kayne on as she continued to develop the kind of signatures that
luxury brands are built on sumptuous knitwear, such as a long silk
rib cardigan in a cool shade of coral worn over a poppy print
bikini; and leathers, in kangaroo for spring.
Kayne is deft at creating interesting color combinations a saffron
silk tank top with a mustard cotton short, a chocolate cashmere
corset cardigan and a teal leather trench coat. And her cropped
black motorcycle jacket, in the most papery fine leather, is a must-
have for the season, worn over an easy purple chiffon bubble dress.
A long black-on-nude lace gown was boho Malibu, worn with a purple
floppy hat, as was a chocolate silk pleated dress with Kayne's
favorite latticework at the top. And the goddess gowns that closed
the show, in tiered navy chiffon or a mustard poppy print, were
Jovovich-Hawk, another L.A. label, designed by model-actress Milla
Jovovich and her pal, former model Carmen Hawk, also made a strong
showing with long sundresses that evoked the French seaside, one in
a black-and-white stripe with embroidered ruffles at the hem,
another in a delicate floral with purple insets at the sides.
There were also some great separates, such as a delicately
crocheted, white bow-tied jacket worn over a slip dress with
whimsical white crocheted knee socks, and some very Sassoon high-
waist jeans with a braided silk rope for a belt. But somebody get
these girls a financial backer fast: The hothouse of a walk-through,
packed with sweat-soaked people and one door in and out, was a
Alice Roi, like Lim, worked in a thousand shades of white
including "blond," except with a more subversive twist inspired by
the film "La Petite Voleuse" ("The Little Thief"). In the 1988 film,
Charlotte Gainsbourg plays a 16-year-old in post-World War II France
who steals things as a form of escapism.
So naturally, there was an air of teen angst to rolled-out-of-bed
pajama tops paired with geeky skin-tight white pants, and a white
leather motorcycle jacket with a coin purse sewn onto the front.
Double belt thigh-high miniskirts and zip-front jumpers in heavy
cotton were reminiscent of Courrèges. But there were plenty of more
romantic, 1960s-era baby doll dresses too, with layered and frayed
cap sleeves, the kind of dresses all the editors are already wearing
now, making the front row resemble a maternity ward.
The dress is always at the heart of Diane Von Furstenberg's
collection, which this season was a romp through the Garden of Eden
titled "All About Eve." There were a number of terrific pieces
jersey coat dresses in taxicab yellow or Kelly green, a silk jersey
wrap dress in a bold print with a serpent wrapped around it, a
bumblebee-print garden party dress and a narrow shift with a giant
ladybug sitting on the hip. Von Furstenberg also delved deeper into
the world of red carpet dressing with a pleated gold lame gown with
a studded harness and a cocktail dress with bands of embroidered
There was more than one nod to the 1980s, beginning with the neon
pink matte lipstick and an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt worn over a
mini early in the show. Spring's paper-bag skirt came in a Pop Art
print, with the perfect cropped jacket to match. A trench coat in a
spotted frog print was irresistible, and a python lamé tunic was
The 1960s met the 1980s at Luella Bartley, whose long, lean
pantsuits in alphabet jacquards and pointy-toed lace-up shoes in
coordinating prints to match would look just right on Brit style
queen Sienna Miller.
An olive parachute silk anorak, layered over skinny black shorts,
and a graphic black-and-white grid print windbreaker atop bubble gum
pink skinny jeans really stirred up the memories. A fitted black
dress with broken mirrors stitched all over made quite an impression
too, though I'm not sure how you'd sit down. Bags came in slick
patent leather oversized, slouchy and with mirror-ball charms. But
the bigger status symbol for spring may be Bartley's tongue-in-cheek
T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Geek!"
A former designer for Katayone Adeli and Development, last year
Phillip Lim, 31, started his own line 3.1 Phillip Lim. Sold at Cusp,
Lim's classic, chic and simple clothing has been a favorite of
glamour girls in the know for ages. In preparation for his next show
in September his second at New York Fashion Week Lim will be
chronicling his progress in a new blog for Jane magazine beginning
Name: Phillip Lim
Hometown: Orange County, California
My Sign: Virgo
Song of Summer '06: Whispering Winds by Moby
Last Book I Read: Marley and Me by John Grogan
Current Celebrity Crush: Kate Bosworth. There's something so
beautiful and angelic about her. Perhaps it's the dimples?
The Movie I'll Watch Whenever It's On Television: Memoirs of a Geisha
If I Could Be Anywhere, I'd be: In Koh Samui, Thailand
When did you know that you wanted to be a designer?
Actually, it discovered me when I was about 23.
What is your blog for Jane going to be about?
It's my first time as a blogger so I'm not sure how it all works. I
am planning to just shoot from the hip, say what's on my mind, my
feelings, share my insights. It's sorta like an online diary for the
month of August. I am very curious to see if anyone even cares what
is on my mind.
How do you think the internet affects fashion?
It opens up fashion to the far reaches. It allows people from
Toronto to Thailand the chance to see, experience and exchange the
ideas, from moment to moment. It lets them them decide immediately
what is right and what is wrong for them. In turn we as designers
become sensitive to this and it influences how we evolve.
What were your inspirations for the fall collection that's about to
Part of the fall collection was inspired by the costuming of Prince
from the movie Purple Rain. I was trying to give "pretty" street
credibility, a sort of "street elegance." Another part was
about "moments of preciousness, capturing instances that are
unexpected, yet completely beautiful." These moments, when
everything comes together, the mixing and matching, the ideas those
undescribable, unscripted moment when it just WORKS