On the Runway

New York Fashion Week: Cool cuts at Phillip Lim; Perfect imperfection at Marchesa

Photography by Anthea Simms

Held in a massive warehouse venue on the Lower West Side, the 3.1 Phillip Lim show is a huge draw—not only for the fashion editors and buyers who have been dutifully attending the shows this week, but also for a crowd of die hard Lim fans who show up in the label, head-to-toe, cameras at the ready. This season, the collection is all about cut: angular jackets, thickly-pleated pants, curved hemlines. Utility chic—we saw the rumblings of this last season—is in full force with fuzzy patch pockets on a hooded coat and a bow-tie beige jumpsuit. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s exciting to see such skillful design in items that will not only hit the sales floor, but will be available at a reasonable price point.

On a very different note, I head over to the Marchesa presentation—and am I ever glad it is a presentation and not a show. The opportunity to see these near-couture gowns and dresses up close is a tremendous treat. Once inside, the crowd weaves through a curtained corridor to view small groupings of models, perched on pedestals in the finest of frocks. This collection is all about texture, which I first spot in the base layer of a red draped dress, with its delicate, mesh-like raw-edges. Inspired by the idea of dresses that had been haphazardly sat in or worn with abandon, there are very subtle effects of distressing or wear to the looks, which is really refreshing in a market of too-perfect red carpet gowns. I really feel for a few of the models who have to be helped down from their pedestals. The gorgeous but extreme stiletto heels that they are wearing prove to be too much to take, and some girls take a quick rest before returning to their post. All the better chance for me to get a look at the cream snakeskin leggings and intricate earrings that loop upward from the lobe. The finale ensemble that I spot before exiting is breathtakingly beautiful. A diaphanous white gown with layer upon layer of chiffon that still bears a slight translucency, the sweetest note on which to leave.

See a gallery of looks from Day 7: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Proenza Schouler, Michael Kors and Reed Krakoff