Phillip Lim has a green thumb and a New Yorker's limited real estate. At his Manhattan apartment, he's coaxed a full garden into bloom on his fire escape. "A Charlie Brown garden," he called it. Charlie may never win, but Lim did, with a strong collection this time around.
The floral influence was everywhere—even in the
intarsia'd leopard prints, which on inspection turned out to be made of flowers, too—but it was mixed with a clean, palate-cleansing blankness and rigor. "Flutility" was Lim's word for it. The utility came through in khaki Mao suits of tapered pants and strict, high-buttoning tops, but their stringency was tempered by appliquéd raffia blossoms. The cocooning shape of skirts was inspired by petals, but they came not in soft fabrics but laminated pigskin, which had the oil-slick feel of hot pavement. Resort may be a vacationer's collection, but Lim's girls are urbanites through and through. "It's a pseudo vacation," he said. "Our make-believe staycation. How do you take a vacation when you're in the studio all night?"
There was a sunny, island flavor to the sorbet-colored shorts suits corseted with inset rope and dangling fringe, but for the most part, this stark, mostly neutral offering had a workmanly spirit, plus a bit of make do and mend. (Not for nothing was all the denim shown "patched" with chain-linked sweater yarn.) The print of the season emphasized graphic lines borrowed, Lim explained, from city plans and maps. The staycation in action. But some got sweetened with a flowered overlay: a view of the city, seen by fire escape.