Phillip Lim is a one-of-a-kind man. The last time I saw him in person, he was wearing his own 3.1 Phillip Lim Acid Wash Oversized Denim Jacket with his Wash Drawstring Pull On Pant. That is not a look that every man can pull off...or almost any man for that matter. Nevertheless, I admired his brazen sense of weekend wear and thought maybe I could push the envelope with my own Saturday morning brunch-time attire. I'm sure anything would be a step up from eating cereal at my Ikea dining table while wearing long johns and a white t-shirt. In any case, this man has style in spades. We could all learn a lesson or two from him.
Apparently, Saks Fifth Avenue agrees. Coming soon to the New York flagship is a 3.1 Phillip Lim shop-in-shop in the women's contemporary department. It's a first shop-in-shop for Lim in any department store. Lim's upgraded presence is a signal of the rapid ascension of the contemporary market in the American retail landscape. In terms of merchandising, the line populates that particular sweet spot between the mid-priced, widely-distributed contemporary brands (think Marc by Marc Jacobs) and the opening price point for designer brands. Others in the same range, sometimes called "advanced contemporary," include Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant. Lim's aesthetic starts with clean, eminently wearable daywear staples, skewed with some very modern silhouettes, all finished in incredibly luxe, advanced fabrics. His research & development department is at the top of the heap, which is all the more impressive considering the price point. His stuff is solid and works season after brutal season. Today, I wore a 3.1 Phillip Lim flap-collar jacket that I bought on sale from eLuxury (which should let you know how old it is...) and I've had his black patent sandals for Tatami on my feet every summer since my fist fashion internship.
Lim brought his impeccable taste to the floor by introducing artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi to Saks. Nakanishi's incredible suspended film print sequences are full of the same earthy, richly saturated hues that Lim uses in his collection, and Lim had Nakanishi work on an installation in the atrium as well as the windows for his shop-in-shop. I love Nakanishi's bold manipulations of transparency and light and the way that his work ties the modern implications of a medium like film to the natural world - the experience of time progressing in the natural world is something that we increasingly only observe in ways far removed from the natural world itself. Checking out the art alone should make it worth the visit to Midtown.
Now if only his menswear were more readily available in-store...