NEW YORK, United States — You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but Phillip Lim’s latest collection was inspired, at least in part, by the Muppets, and, more broadly, by friendship, the thing embodied unequivocally by Kermit and his band of fleece, fur and felt misfits.
The big idea was translated more literally via a friendship-knot foulard print and friendship-knot details on everything from cropped knits to handbag straps. But peer closely and an abstract of Elmo’s hairline emerges on a top-handle lady bag and a white t-shirt, while a tongue — Rowlf’s, perhaps? — was embroidered on the back of a bomber jacket. “You can’t lose that wit,” Lim said at a studio preview.
You can’t lose that sense of fun, either. At its strongest, Lim’s collection is about wardrobe workhorses that feel almost like anomalies. This season, that meant oversize paper-bag-waist chinos, metallic trench coats, and pointy mules decorated, again, with friendship knots — all classic ideas with just a little bit of Lim’s requisite madness. The designer is really pushing the return of khaki and he offered all sorts of appealing pieces made with the staple fabric, from a high-rise cargo pencil skirt to a pair of apron-front trousers and a smart trench.
But friendship can be messy and there were some pieces that felt out of place. For instance, a form-fitting flight suit didn’t track well with his floating silk trousers and cascading ruffles, or even his more utilitarian cargo styles. The collection was most impressive when Lim managed to make fashion that was clever, not funny.