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Autumn/Winter 2011-12Ready-To-WearNew York

Friday, 29 July 2011

REMOVED from the Park Avenue Armory where he showed his well-received excursion into austere colour-blocked layers last season, Phillip Lim decided to pack up his bags and head south, south of Houston that is, for his autumn/winter 2011-12 show. In a carryover from last season there were still cosy sportswear layers but this time with a freer sense of proportion, a playful acuity, rich fabric combinations and a bold sense of colour, all things we can stand behind.

There's a reason that Lim's 3.1 Phillip Lim line commands a front row including fashion forward magazine editors (Anna Dello Russo), stylish models (Irina Lazareanu), and fellow designers (Richard Chai), like he did today. His aesthetic is thoughtful and interesting while never sacrificing comfort and wearability. He excels at easy sportswear, but never comes across as sloppy or quotidian, a balance that many designers struggle with. This season found Lim cutting a bountiful cropped pant, which moved with nimbleness whether fashioned in butterscotch leather or a verdant green cotton. A stark white T-shirt dress with pockets, soft rounded shoulders, loose sleeves and a hemline that dipped slightly in the back was stunning in its simplicity and agreeable nature. Other deceptively simple plays on classic fall wardrobe staples included an oversized anorak with distended pockets and clunky shoulder detailing, an indigo silk bodysuit with sumptuous leather sleeves, low-hanging tan trousers with black side panels and a cropped grey blazer with smooth sable sleeves. Nothing forced, and nothing without a luxurious detail to set it apart.

Lim's appeal is the versatility of his pieces, unfussy but special and appropriate for a wide variety of customers. The effortlessness and ease that guides the designer's hand shows that he's best when he trusts his intuition of what women want: proof that looking good and feeling good aren't mutually exclusive virtues.

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