FADER NYFW, Spring 2014
No one at fashion week talks about it, but there’s one sure way a great collection will fall flat: When designers and their customers have competing visions of where fashion and practicality should meet. More often than not, this issue arises at the hands of male designers who eagerly dress their models with male-dictated desires and ideals, while ignoring their female customers’ needs. Phillip Lim, however, has consistently churned out collections that are made for stylish strong women on-the-go. He subscribes to the belief that clothing done right can transform its wearer, helping them to stand tall and project their best self. Case in point: his comic book-inspired fall 2012 collection that reimagined the modern woman as a superhero, which he recently evoked in his collaboration with Target. (And, for that, Lim deserves extra credit, since he’s offering his styles to all women regardless of their budget.)
This season, Lim’s empowering designs were less literal, but there were still plenty of outfits that impossibly balanced comfort and style. Taking inspiration from the natural wonders of the ocean (think barnacle textures, driftwood patterns, frothy white mesh, and iridescent leather), Lim gave his female fanbase updated shower slides to run around in, polished throw-on shift dresses, and slouchy bottoms including culottes, wide-leg trousers, and tapered flood pants. They all walked down the salt crystal-paved runway with ease. He even paired his deconstructive beachwear with a no-fuss beauty look: Models wore bare faces and wet wavy hair. Even if this collection's wearers are too busy working to trek to the beach, they’ll at least get to feel the ocean’s relaxing effect through their clothes.