3.1 Phillip Lim
February 12, 2012 New York
If that sounded slightly abstract, the collection was largely grounded in reality. Lim did open with a cape, but the resounding message of his mostly monochromatic and minimal parade of sleek jackets, deconstructed sturdy ribbed knits, sharply creased trousers, and great tailored coats was simply this: strong clothes for strong women. (Having said that, which of us doesn't believe in the power of clothing to produce something akin to a phone booth transformation?)
Lim also had ideas about duality. There was dark versus light in the punchy graphic interplay of pieces delineated in black and white, and hard versus soft in the weaponlike pointy toes of ladylike pumps. A smoke machine (apparently turned to 11) set a noir-ish stage, telling you all wasn't as it seemed. Nothing evil was lurking, and, quite frankly, nothing too surprising, just the slightly surreal twist of cardigans turned back to front or upside down, along with collarless coats with indented flat collars and trompe l'oeil metal collars.
The strains of "This Is a Man's World" began to play mid-show, though it could have looped throughout. There was only one look that even approximated something cocktail-appropriate. Don't even superheroines need a night off every now and then?