Designer Phillip Lim is a name known for pretty, soft dresses with unique detailing and streamlined sportswear separates. His collection is one that defines the true meaning of cool American chic, a look that will never go out of style, created by a man with an incredible work ethic who strives for continued success.
I had the pleasure of working backstage at one of Lim’s shows last year and was happily surprised by the serene atmosphere. Prior to a show, backstage is where all of the last minute preparations and unpredicted mishaps occur. The scene is usually chaotic; models show up late, press fight for interviews, photographers push to get in the door.
Although it was busy, the mood was relaxed and calm. Everything ran smoothly in the hands of a designer who was poised and graceful. He’s a modest man, always polite and professional when speaking to press and he has said about his design aesthetic, “It’s just pretty. It’s not trying to be anything.”
Originally from Orange County where he gained experience working as a design assistant for Katayone Adeli, Lim began his first collection called Development, at the insistence of his current business partner. According to Lim, the name Development was chosen more as a mission statement than anything else: "I want the line to grow and evolve with the wearer." The evolution is apparent as the line has sold nationwide to top boutiques around the world including Ron Herman in LA, Henri Bendel in NY and Harvey Nichols in London.
Lim recently made the jump across the States to the East Coast where, upon taking a look at his current projects, it’s obvious that he has adjusted quite nicely to the hectic Manhattan lifestyle. In 2004 he launched 3.1, his signature collection named after the age when he made his initial break into the fashion industry.
Superstition serves the designer well, as shortly there after, the Fashion Group International awarded him with a Rising Star Award along with a nomination for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. His most recent projects include a collaboration with the Gap to redesign their classic white shirt, a Philip Lim 3.1 store opening in New York City and a launch of a 3.1 kids collection. The talented workaholic does manage to make time for a party or two and has been seen around town with his muse, model Irina Lazareanu.
His latest 3.1 Fall 08 show was reported as his most mature collection ever. A palette of soft grey, deep blue, brown and black paraded down the runway of his men’s and women’s collections. Traditional vests and frumpy sweaters looked modern and cool paired with shortened ocean blue trousers and metallic cocktail dresses. Lim chose a beautiful layered, chiffon, eggshell gown as the show’s finale. A romantic, unique, modest piece to tie his story together, perhaps a little like the designer himself.
Photos courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.