3.1 Phillip Lim Returns to New York Fashion Week

Set in Chinatown, the collection drew a standing ovation from friends and family.

Prior to the pandemic, Phillip Lim was, in his own words “showing without truly showing up” when it came to his namesake brand, 3.1 Phillip Lim. As the city forced his atelier to shut down in 2020, leaving mannequins in various stages of the work process, the brand was able to take time to reflect on what fashion meant to them. After 19 years in business as an independent label, navigating the ups and downs called for a celebration. And so, four years after his last show, Lim returned to the runway at the one place in New York City he holds dear: Chinatown.

As afternoon turned into sunset, with the Manhattan Bridge in the background, beloved models like Jessica Stam and Liya Kebede along with newer faces strode in. Opening with transparent looks, Lim said the series was meant to evoke fresh-faced optimism – vulnerability, hope, and limitless first layers in both dress and  mindset. Like other New York brands, namely Coach’s own anniversary show, Lim’s show was a love letter to a city that’s become, albeit through an Asian American lens. That was most evident in the shoes, an homage to “Chinese slippers”, acknowledging all the women in his life as well as the space where he chose to hold his comeback show.

Featuring 51 looks, it was clear that Lim had a lot to say for his return. The diaphanous opening looks segued into a series of nipped in the waist separates that detoured into a series of scarf print looks. Being that this was an ode to New York, a city that loves the color black, the runway shifted back to offer plenty of options before pivoting again to vibrant prints. To end the show, a return to classic neutrals, capped off by Kedebe’s monochromatic camel look which closed the show.

“They find a unique uniform derived from lived and shared experiences that not only suits them but is etched with the inimitable signatures of this city allowing us all to cement our footing and eventually call New York home,” says Lim in the post-show press release of his vision. As guests like Nicky Hilton, Kimora Lee Simmons and Awkwafina took to their feet for a standing ovation, it’s clear that the message is well received.

Photography courtesy of 3.1 Phillip Lim.


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