In fashion, “the nomad” is a device commonly used as an excuse for eclectic styling techniques or to romanticize a rumpled, haphazard look. Do any of us actually know a true nomad, a word that suggests someone displaced from his or her home, shopping the advanced contemporary floor?
Phillip Lim’s fall collection was a rare example of the wanderer’s life used to conjure something that actually felt personal and will service the non-migrant wardrobe in equal measure. The looks were a patchwork of many different fabrics, patterns, layers and proportions, gently assembled to create a picture of a pretty magpie who most likely has a full-time job. Lim wanted to “celebrate difference and what the beauty of different things brings to us,” he said backstage after the show. “It’s in response to immigration right now and me being an immigrant. It’s almost like, ‘Hey, look at us.’”
There was a lot to take in: a cow-print pony coat over a multicolored striped marled knit dress over a knit turtleneck; a softly draped pleated dress in patchworked pastels worn with a jangly seashell charm necklace; a bi-colored duster — half khaki, half black — over a brown paisley peasant dress traced in asymmetrical seams. Crinkled pastels that were cut into loose suiting and flowing peasant dresses with blunt, uneven hems were made out of fabrics typically used for linings and pressed in a panne machine to achieve a no-time-to-iron look. The pale colors built into deep black-based floral, intense blue and Army greens. Piling looks with scarves, big coats and bigger handbags is a big trend right now, but Lim made his assemblages of prints that looked picked up from travels far and wide feel made with love. He learned how at home. “My mom used to make clothes from scraps,” he said. “My favorite pillows, my shirts, stuff like that, she would repair everything and turn the most humble fabrics into the most treasured things.”