Phi is slowly but surely becoming a force to be reckoned with. The label was founded in 2004 by Susan Dell and has been designed since its second season by Andreas Melbostad. This year it ran its first ad campaign, with a nod to Vargas girls, and debuted a Resort collection. Early next year it will open up its second shop, in Los Angeles. "We started feeling that we had built a nice foundation and that people started to relate to the image and product in a good way," Melbostad explained modestly, "and we felt comfortable and confident to deliver more."
Speaking of which, Melbostad's Spring collection was one of his strongest yet. Over the past four years Phi has experimented alternately with lingerie and aggressive tailoring. This season, the balance between the two was at its most harmonious. As his jackets demonstrated, Melbostad didn't totally abandon his preoccupation with the eighties, but his engineering and construction were "much softer," as he himself put it, "not as body-con, and a little bit looser and more relaxed."
Loosely inspired by motocross racing and works in glass by Ettore Sottsassthe founder of the currently highly trendy haute-eighties Memphis design collectiveMelbostad jigsaw-puzzled together soft, pale colors (opal, petal, mint) and fabrics of different weights (georgette, mesh). Paneled dresses with intricate boudoir pleating and fine tucks were worn over zip-bottomed skinny pants that looked like an Egyptian mummy's leggings. (Trust us, they were hot.)
Admittedly, the harem pants and jodhpurs are unlikely to look as cool on an ordinary human as they did on the models. But beyond that, there were plenty of beautifully made pieces that are sure to race out of the NYC and L.A. stores.