There’s a particular easygoing aesthetic that epitomizes the 3.1 Phillip Lim woman: If she tries hard, you would never know it to look at her. “She is confident, but not overbearing,” explains the designer (his company is named for his age when he started it, 31). That’s why his first collection with Target isn’t the overblown, shout-out-loud capsule we’re used to with mass collaborations. Rather, Lim has distilled his popular runway hits into attainable, Target-priced wardrobe solutions. Witness the cartoonish “BOOM” scarf and sweatshirt, a direct take on his viral 2012 pre-fall superhero tops. Or see, perhaps, the patchworked faux-leather shift, an easier-to-wear take on the patched leather overcoats in his most recent fall 2013 collection.
“I am an evolutionary designer, not a revolutionary designer,” Lim explains. “Keeping a similar look and feel is something I think [people] will appreciate and be excited about.”
Lim is also considered the gateway designer, because his clothes, while stealthily fashion-forward, are easy to get your head around. “I was brought up in Orange County, [Calif.]; a lot of the ease of my aesthetic comes from there.” Undemanding, yes, but not the pro forma black and white that usually implies. A Lim lady mustn’t fear incorporating colour. “I love colours that exist in shadows,” says Lim, “colours that aren’t finished products but appear as in-process.”
The line took a year to come to market. Designing for Target “is actually very similar [to designing my main line] because it hinges on the investment of time,” he says. “In the end, I put the same amount of passion, energy, spirit and creativity into designing a $29.99 shirt that I would a shirt that costs $299. Time has no value and time is the ultimate value.” Of the “unholy hour” of late days, only increased by multiplying projects, he says simply, “It’s what I do.”
Not one to leave the environs of New York often, Lim escapes through little luxuries, namely walking his dog, Oliver, and puttering in his miniature garden. “It’s the smallest space outside my window that I’ve made into a garden,” laughs Lim. “I call it my Charlie Brown garden in the sky.”
Want to see the rest of the collection? Take a look through Lim’s look book here!