Saturday, September 17, 2011

NYFW: 3.1 Phillip Lim

Nineties style has been slowly raising it's head above the trenches over the past year and it seems now the path is clear for it to make a full tilt at our wardrobes. There've been glimpses of aspects of the Nineties before, of course- grunge has long been a staple on the backs of models (who perhaps reject the preening and priss of the backstage maelstrom by favouring biker leathers, loose tees and grubby jeans?) apparent also in the deluge of plaid that sprang up like a weed in hipster haunts everywhere. I say 'weed' because it was almost anonymous, so total was its spread, but I love it too (call me a hipster at your own peril. Ask Ash.)

But I digress! (Hardly surprising, right?)

A new angle on Nineties is now slinking towards us and I am so excited by the prospect. Phoebe Philo's first collection for Celine was the firstfruits of this trend, I believe. She favoured crisp lines, sleek simple colours and A-line shapes that were last massive when Minimalism met fashion- in the Nineties. Fast-forward a couple of seasons and you could catch glimpses of it amongst the assault to the senses that was the colour-blocking trend- Alexander Wang's cape stilettos, for one. The cape was removable (and in my eyes, a little... redundant. Yes? So sue me) and once it's gone, revealed is a clean line, two straps crossing the foot, almost suspending the foot in a gravity-defying bow. 

(I couldn't find an image sans-cape, but I know I saw it in a Vogue somewhere. A researcher's worst nightmare.)

Sure, it look painful (duh) but it is also a palate-cleanser after the clogs, the wedges, the clompy heels, the biker boots that have stormed recent runways. It reminds me of the Manolo Blahniks that early Sex and the City Carrie wore. Shot when? You got it.

And so, here we are, in New York (metaphorically speaking) in Spring 2012 (in the fashion world, anyway) and this is what Phillip Lim sends down the runway:

I see a Minimalist palette (I neglected to display the first section of the collection, featuring pastels. Unless it's on enamelled jewellery, I don't touch pastels so there's no way I'm dressing my blog in them either), clean but sporty lines, a lot of jersey, hems that skim below the knee- I see Nineties. 

Lim described being influenced by them as a child of the Nineties himself, and there is something reassuring to me about recognising these looks. They remind me of Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Jil Sander. They remind me of grey marle and faces made up to look make-up free, hair parted on the side and sleeked back. Of Christy Turlington, the Nineties' freshest fresh-face and her line of yoga clothes- Nuala?- and of hearing of yoga for the first time. Of berry coloured lipstick and dark eyebrows, dark roots in blonde hair, lots of "flesh" toned clothing. Of needlepoint stilettos, fitted blazers over fitted dresses in stretch fabric.

These are the images that people my mind when I think of Nineties- but Lim's iteration is chicer than that, more luxe and not weighed down by too much historical reference (the irony of referring to the Nineties as 'historic' has not escaped me, but there you are.) Well, there are no body stockings here. No leather biker boy hats or cumbersome denim (save one denim vest thing which was like a sleeveless  parka and was quite cool. Props, Phillip Lim, for pulling off the seeming impossible- wresting denim vests back from the Village People.) The overall look is fresh, elegant and beautifully cut. My limbs shout 'hurrah' and anticipate new shapes to shroud them. Now all that remains is to see how the British and Eurpoan fashion weeks answer this fresh, fairly American interpretation. Bring it!

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