To celebrate his 10th anniversary Phillip Lim positioned his runway as a moment to “stop and smell the flowers,” the de facto title of his spring show and its set collaboration with the artist Maya Lin. She created uniform sculptural mounds of soil to punctuate the runway and reflect the collection’s earthy angle.
If Lim was feeling reflective, his lineup looked new. He evolved the athletic polish and quirky femininity that has distinguished him as a major player of accessibly priced designer fashion with an airy, purist ethos, though the looks could hardly be described as minimal. Done in a rich mineral palette of green, deep blue, white and sand, many of the pieces had a lightweight technical shine, such as takes on baseball jackets, anoraks and paper-bag-waisted tailored shorts that floated around the body for a sporty polish.
Lim prides himself on thinking outside the box, so while the clothes projected an arty calm, many of the pieces were loaded with asymmetrical cuts and folds, wrapped straps and fabric splicing, mashing up panels of pinstripes and wallpaper florals. In some cases the details added sophisticated intrigue to the clothes, for example a green satin bandeau top with one gently knotted shoulder strap and matching wrap skirt. In others, the add-ons were curious, such as a shirt cut out so aggressively that it looked like the sleeves of a sweatshirt over a bandeau, and hybrid ribbed knits with ruffled, tipped collars.
The quest to challenge and push boundaries is essential, and if Lim overindulged in some instances, there was balance. Many of the silhouettes focused on elaborately cut tops, but the bottoms — perfectly cut, simple cropped pants — were the masterpiece.