Talk of the Tents

New York Fashion Week photos, live blogging, runway highlights and celebrities.

3.1 Phillip Lim--style with a geology lesson

If you’re like Michelle Obama—a sucker for a good print—then you’ll love slipping into many of the pieces in the 3.1 Phillip Lim spring collection. He had some grand themes on his mind, namely a “survey of raw landscapes,” as he wrote in his program notes, and an exploration of brutal yet “beautifully charged” ecosystems. Okay. What that translates into is a selection of exceedingly clever and original patterns on coats, dresses and separates.

Most noticeable is his “geode” print—looking just like those big rocks cut open at the American Museum of Natural History, with all that color and swirling crystal exposed from the core. Not our fave, although it wasn’t so much the print as the execution that didn’t seem to work in some cases. An embroidered souvenir jacket, for instance, had the geode print affixed to panels of mesh netting, sort of like an appliqué atop a sheer coat—but because the netting is so light-weight, and the geode embroidery heavier, it hung off the jacket at random angles.

It seemed to work much better on a jacquard “flounce” dress, where the geode design, which looked like the kind of jagged lines one might see in a satellite image of the Grand Canyon, etched across the skirt in an asymmetrical way. Or tops where the geode print formed an unpredictable hem or neckline.

Then came the cracked metallic suede with an iridescent foil treatment—fun and fantastic on an emerald skirt or moto vest. His tan-and-white “splattered denim” motorcycle jacket and jean seemed like his own hip and wholly original riff on leopard (a print that so many peeps out there can’t seem to get enough of...so how nice to finally have an alternative to break up the mix). And then there's the abstract woodgrain pattern, looking smart on trousers, a jacket and vest.

If solids are more your thing, there were plenty of wearable options—from a soft, sweet honeydew green dress to antique white wide-cuff Bermuda shorts.

That sheer mesh netting was prevalent here—popping up on tops and skirts, as it is in many collections this season—get ready for the sheer thing because it’s happening for spring (whether you like the idea or not). The mesh made sense here, given the landscape Lim created: He covered the runway in bright white gravel, with silver foil underneath, which cast an ethereal glow across the space. It looked a lot like New Mexico’s White Sands desert, and the leather fringe pieces added to that Southwest feel.

So did the handbags with the look of crackled leather, and his sturdy, thick-soled flats. Lim foresees an arid spring—and rather dusty, though that was mainly because the models’ footsteps kicked up wisps of dust into the air.

Tags: Phillip Lim , Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week , Michelle Obama , American Museum of Natural History , Grand Canyon , geodes

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