To follow Phillip Lim on social media is to know that he is a devout practitioner of mindfulness. #bepresent and #romancingreality are his go-to hashtags. With that knowledge, his fall motto of “life as your stage” felt within his realm if it did little to illuminate the collection.
Lim set the stage with a thunderous light and sound installation, dramatizing a wardrobe that seemed to be for creative, professional women who don’t want to look basic. Lim did a lot with the premise of practical sportswear, elevating simple pieces, such a neat A-line minis, shifts and boyish trousers with zingy retro plaids — micro and macro — in sour shades of green, rust and brown. The beginning of the show had a neo-rockabilly attitude cross-pollinated with the unusual sporty Zen of quilted nylon puffers with kimono trims and flat, hardy sandals.
It was a thoughtful collection, full of left-of-center ideas that worked more often than not. Some of the best looks fused utility and romance, such as a series of Army green items, including cargo pants with patchwork-velvet panels and an oversize parka with a fur hood, slashed elbows and orange embroidery. Lim also joined in the season’s velvet renaissance, with a burnt-orange velvet suit, a fitted navy moto jacket with leather sleeves and very cool velvet booties, some of which had a contrasting silver toe.