It’s happening. The political climate is front and center on the runways this season, with some designers making their version of a message of inclusion, diversity and the American dream more visually obviously than others. Phillip Lim was among those reacting to current events on a sly, thoughtful level. “The part we play is to empower through what we do, and that’s the use of clothes,” he said backstage. “I worked on the idea of new romantics, color, curiosity and courage, and making clothes that women want.”
To his point, the show was full of softness and ideas that tied back to traditional femininity. The magenta and orange set bathed the collection in rosy light, and the show opened with a pink fuzzy tailored coat belted with silver chain links and a black ribbon tied in a bow. Some of the best looks were airy midlength dresses and tops and skirts in black and white cut in off-kilter structural ruffles, kind of like modernist, deconstructed peasant looks, which were accented with organic-looking jewelry. Lim delivered romance with strength, drawing on very classic womanly notions with a series of leather bustier corset tops, which were quite surprising and daring from him, but also working with the now. There were puffer jackets — cropped and blanket-like — high-waisted paper-bag pants and smooth leather bomber jackets.
Lim put things together with a quirk factor, layering certain looks with mesh for styling, and showing shoes that were on the awkward side of cerebral. But he made good on all of his intentions: The collection was romantic, full of color and items that will make people curious. One of the most interesting things about Lim’s clothes is that, for hovering in the high-end of the contemporary market, he doesn’t get bogged down with any overly obvious trends or references to aesthetics made popular on other people’s runways. The show was full of clothes that women will want to wear.