When Phillip Lim launched his 3.1 Phillip Lim line with business partner Wen Zhou back in 2005, they named it so for a rather straightforward reason, really. No lucky numbers involved, no numerology obsessions. Zhou and California native Lim both happened to be 31 years old at the time.
Seven years later, Lim has become a phenomenon in the market with clothes that strike a similar chord. There’s nothing tricky here, just gotta-have-it classics with an undercurrent of cool — or, as he dubs it, “a sense of madness.” Now, that cocktail of confident chic has finally arrived at Saks Fifth Avenue New York.
On April 24, Lim’s debut shop-in-shop kicks off with an installation by Japanese artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi. “The pieces he created for the opening are brilliant in evoking the feeling of bringing the outside inside,” Lim tells SaksPOV, “like flying a kite on a clear summer day.”
The key word here is kite. That’s the inspiration behind his oh-so-buoyant spring collection on sale, which comes complete with flyaway dresses and fluttering tops that fold into bags. “There are elements of simple geometry,” explains Lim, “like garments which, when laid flat, look like squares of fabric, but they are bought to life by nature when they are worn. They were an exploration into how multifaceted and complex simplicity can be if you let it.”
As cerebral as that sounds, there’s a sweet personal angle, too. Lim tapped into the “the innocence and freedom” of his kite-flying youth, which, at the time, seems to have come with a little freewheeling edge. “We would make kites using sticks, newspaper, string, tape and razor blades!” the designer recalls. “We would have kite wars — cutting each other in the air.” Lim was, he thinks, eight years old at the time.
In the Gallery: Saks Fifth Avenue New York celebrates the opening of the 3.1 Phillip Lim shop with W magazine