At Phillip Lim, Opposites Attract

Phillip Lim deftly balanced sun and shadow, yin and yang, for an original Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, says Jessica Michault.

NEW YORK, United States — Backstage after his show, designer Phillip Lim was in a happy place. He has found a name to represent the character of the woman who symbolised his show. That name was Soleil. But like the saying goes, “don’t let the name fool you.”

For this was not a bright, happy go lucky collection of superficial style. Rather Lim tried to cultivate something a bit more challenging for his clients. “She is the sun, but there is a moon too. Like a yin and a yang,” explained the designer about his imaginary muse. So Lim’s print for the show — fittingly called “Shadow” — featured both blooming orchids but also moody color combinations of plums, blues, greys and black shades. Atypical hues that bled out to envelope much of the rest of the designer’s sober collection.

This concept of bringing together divergent elements to create something unexpected was explored in a number of ways on the Lim catwalk. There were the winning ideas that the designer had of reimagining a classic denim jacket or vest in shearling or folding over the arms of a Breaking Bad blue top or trousers and piercing them in place with silver studs. The choice to cut tops significantly longer at the back or add whorls of asymmetrical ruffles on loose fitting sweaters will prove a bit more demanding.

But the most successful blending of opposites was in how Lim almost effortlessly brought together the worlds of strong and soft, structure and fluidity. This could be seen in his fur and leather panel tops and coats. But also in his deftly executed dresses that used patterns and different fabric weights to cleverly control and release the movement of the garments.

You have got to hand it to the designer; unlike quite a few of his fashion colleagues in New York, there was nothing in his show that felt derivative of other défilés. This season the soleil is definitely shining on Lim.

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