The temperature is steadily climbing to the infernal end of the thermometer in New York, so it was a breezy relief to enter Phillip Lim's Garment District showroom and find "the beginnings of a quintessential summer wardrobe" (albeit one that doesn't hit stores until November). Translation: loose layers and relaxed silhouettes.

That's not to say Lim has caught the caftan fever that's going around. The designer added shape and chic to his Resort collection by focusing strongly on the waist, adding drawstrings to jumpsuits and cropped parkas and paper-bag closures to tiny shorts. Sometimes, his fascination got the better of him, as in a couple of harem pants whose wraparound sashes gave unnecessary heft. But overall, Lim's downtown clientele will find much to love. Colors are cooler—sky blue, white, sand, mint, and cream—though bursts of hot poppy and marigold appear here and there. Beasts (that is, leopard and ponyhair motifs) joined those flower colors to suggest a nature theme. But in the end, it will all feel right at home on city streets. That ponyhair is print, not skin, to give the look without the heat.