Those paying close attention to Phillip Lim know he’s built a global cultural perspective into his brand identity. Over the past few years his campaigns have been shot by Viviane Sassen in Morocco, Bhutan, Addis Ababa and New Jersey, and his collections have been increasingly reactive, in a subtle way, to current world events. That philosophy was very much present in Lim’s resort lineup.
“I did something revolutionary,” said Lim during a preview of the collection. “I took a month off.” He spent it in Bali, “hauling ass” to get resort mostly done before he left, and the clothes had the rejuvenated, reflective spirit of someone who was about to spend a month in a special tropical paradise. It was alive with color, texture, creative proportions and unique details.
While he was in Bali-mode designing the collection, Lim was divining inspiration from Jackie Nickerson’s photo book of African farmers “Farm.” He took note of Nickerson’s stylish subjects’ layering, deconstructing and repurposing techniques. “The word I have is ‘spontaneity,’” said Lim. “I want the clothes to be transient and nomadic. Everything is familiar but reconstructed.”
A white tailored trench was to look like a cropped jacket over a longer one and could be buttoned or unbuttoned to affect different proportions. It looked fresh and pure over a deconstructed white cotton poplin top and white jersey skirt. A tailored black blazer was tucked into burgundy high-waisted lacquered voile pants. A black floral printed dress based on a vintage Thirties tea dress was spliced with solid panels and worn over leggings, with a lacquered blue anorak tied around the waist. The silhouettes were styled to amp up the nomadic vibe, but the looks broke down into pieces packed with novelty that were still easy to wear. Lim knows he’s not dressing real nomads. Of a knotted jersey top based on modern dance garb, he said, “We draped and manipulated it so it’s not a maze to get into.”