LONDON — Phillip Lim has brought his cool, insouciant brand of ready-to-wear to London’s South Kensington.
This story first appeared in the November 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Earlier this month the 3.1 Phillip Lim label unveiled a 3,200-square-foot store at 91 Pelham Street, which the designer has opened in partnership with Club 21 U.K. The long term partnership with Club 21 — the fashion and accessory arm of the Ong family’s Como Group — will see a number of 3.1 Phillip Lim locations open in the U.K., with a second London store set to bow in 2014.
“London has always been so welcoming to us,” said Wen Zhou, chief executive officer and cofounder of 3.1 Phillip Lim, noting that the label has taken a cautious approach to expanding into the U.K. “We have waited it out and chosen our partner wisely….We want to make sure we are in the right locations with the right message at the right time, and Club 21 are really on board with helping us to do this,” she said.
Lim collaborated with the London design firm Campaign to create the store’s interiors in a palette of muted tones and contrasting materials that echo the subtle handwriting of his collections. The space boasts stark white walls, a gray concrete floor inlaid with glinting strips of brass and randomly placed blue onyx tiles, while mannequins stand atop a series of marble plinths dotted about the store.
To underline the store’s concept of “studio luxury,” there are blank canvases propped up on the walls, while one-off pieces of furniture picked out by Lim — such as a tiger print sofa and an angular plywood armchair — lend a warm touch to the boutique’s clean lines.
Meanwhile, the designer himself was in Beijing this week to host a splashy party marking the opening of his first store in China.
Lim invited 500 people to fete the 2,700-square-foot, two-story 3.1 Phillip Lim flagship at the Taikoo Li, the luxury brand end of Sanlitun Village compound.
The store stocks men’s and women’s rtw and features an accessories studio with footwear, belts, bags and sunglasses.
Lim, who will next open a store in Shanghai’s Kerry Center mall, said his 3.1 brand fits with the emerging style of China. Though he is American through-and-through, Lim’s parents are both from China and he feels at home here as well as the U.S.
Alice Wong, executive director of ImagineX, the Hong Kong brand management and distribution company partnering with Lim for his China rollout, said the look and feel of his designs are exactly right for China at this moment.
“Luxury consumers are fast evolving from status-seeking and logo-loving to a more discreet expression of their own individual style,” said Wong. “Phillip is leading a new generation of designers that cater to that individualistic approach. There is a true spirit behind the brand. His clothes represent a certain attitude that is not dependent on trend. This really is something new for the market.”
Lim said the explosion in fashion in China fascinates him, as does the speed at which consumers here have adapted their tastes.
“I make clothes that pick up the energy of what is happening around me,” said Lim.