Chic Peek At Fall 2010

I went to see Phillip Lim’s 3.1 fall collection up close in his NY showroom the other day. The show was

3.1 Phillip Lim camel coat

terrific back in February, but after 2 months, I’d forgotten the vibe that sent me into fashion orbit.

As soon as I rounded the corner (after viewing the delicious, deluxe accessories in the entry – particularly a buttery, squashy leopard satchel so chic it could almost walk you into a room !), it hit me all over again. How could I forget? These are absolutely great clothes — simply, totally elegant American sportswear chic.

Following a long but stratospheric tradition that includes iconic American designers Claire McCardell, Bonnie Cashin, Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, Isaac Mizrahi, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs, Lim has picked up the golden thread of chic American classic style and made it his own. This is where classics should be in 2010. His silhouettes are tweaked, reshaped and detailed into modernity.

There were terrific coats – from a camel double-breasted

3.1 Phillip Lim gray shearling melange coat

kimono coat with a thin black leather belt to a black silk-piped short hooded camel steamlined duffel coat — and great knits. Big, slouchy, pale blue and striped gray/blue cardigan sweaters and greige textured sweater tunics were elegantly easy. A very shaggy ivory knitted cardigan and skirt were just sublime. There were great shorts in quilted leather or cotton, to be worn over thick tights.

And the shearlings! There were endless super texture combinations of suede, shearling, tweed, leather, fur and knit worked into sections that made these the season’s best American jackets and coats, all in shades of gray, ivory, beige, natural, brown and black. So yummy.

Sequin dresses and tunics often mixed with other fabrics, and with just the right amount of shine, looked terrific here in Lim’s hands, and not tired the way they seem in the stores for spring, with scores of brassy imitators of designer shine packing the racks. Dull, rich gold, matte violet and silver spelled out a luxurious message in these covetable accent pieces.

But, best of all was the blanket plaid coat, skirt, shorts and pants that just about screamed Bonnie , Bill

3.1 Phillip Lim blanket plaid coat

and Geoffrey, albeit with a modern, assymetrical touch that Lim’s young (and now older, I am sure) customers adore. In cream, grey, beige and black, it was just about the chicest thing I saw this season. I love it when that happens! What a star to watch for anyone who loves fashion.  Available in July at stores or at www.31philliplim.com.

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This Minute

At The Tents

Michael Kors 2/17/10 — Who better than the reigning king of American luxury to update Fall’s ubiquitous camel coat, the sweater dress, the gray sweat pant, the gray flannel trouser, the turtleneck and the peacoat? Michael Kors did just that beautifully in the Fall 2010 collection he showed this morning in Bryant Park. From the first outfit — a coyote fur vest and cashmere bodysuit with cashmere leg and arm warmers — it was apparent his was a journey to that mythical America where super-luxury fabrics are distilled into the most modern incarnations of classics we love, and where they are also within the reach of every great-looking woman who desires them. Yes — oh, yes — we all should dress that way, I agree… And, we all should have that bank account, too!

But, this is a collection line, and all about the dream, the designer’s vision, that will fuel sales from fragrance to fur and fabulous accessories, not to mention lust among his faithful. And there it succeeded wildly, pardon the pun…

In this luxe vision, a woman has plenty of fur–in coats, jackets, parkas, vests, even a skirt — and in those amazing stand alone fur hoods that are popping up in lots of shows, but best here. And, absolutely, she has great accessories — from a terrific cross-body cognac leather mailbag (that came out in gold a second later), to the wedge hiking boot that anchored a lot of looks, to just right brown belts, perfect fur and crush-down suede boots, and cashmere leg warmers for a great chunky winter sandal.

But, back to the clothes–how did Kors update these sporty chic classics? It was in how he combined them– see-through gold turtle with stretch gabardine pants, a silver Cire stormcoat and anthracite cashmere sweatpants – and what he made them of. There was new “crushed” and “crinkled” flannel, stretch in cashmere and flannel, mohair voile practically transparent turtlenecks. His modernization also came from how he shaped his new classics — really large cowls and very deep v’s and dolman sleeves on sweaters, super-high slits on a pleated below the knee kilt or slight A line button front skirts, a pleated, slouchy-at-the-top, slim leg new trouser, and an easy louche trouser skirt, and slits in the elbows of his narrow-sleeved coats and jackets for movement.

Whether this collection can be seen as further evidence that fashion is cleaning itself up, or just the right time for the already quintessential Kors modern classic style, remains to be seen. But, whatever the zeitgeist, his polished, but extremely easy sportswear chic looked so handsome, so very desirable, it might just inspire women to launch an economic recovery just to afford these stunning clothes.