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3.1 Phillip Lim: new takes on pants and more

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: A model

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: A model walks the runway at the 3.1 Phillip Lim Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at St. John's Center Studios on February 16, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Gentner/Getty Images) Photo Credit: Getty/Jeff Gentner

The 3.1 Phillip Lim collection is usually inventive, and this fall Lim's new takes on old standbys--pants, for instance, and belts--almost make us want to revise the label's name from 3.1 to 3.2.  The young designer has vision.  Whether the result is something women will actually wear is another thing. But it's still encouraging.  Most designers seem content these days to churn out retreads of previous decades, "inspired" as they say by the '70s or the '50.  Lim looks to the future.

FIrst, the pants: His "front-fold" utility trousers, made of lambskin, jacquard or a silk-wool blend, were formed by long pleats that extended down the length of the leg, like an extra placket of material in front.  The result seemed a little stiff or thick, which isn't necessarily what most women are going for when it comes to the thigh region.  But at least it was new, instead of yet another super-tight cigarette pant designed for size zeros.  (Lim, no fool, offered skinny "needle trousers," too.)

His belts, made of fur--some wide, some skinny--were also an interesting surprise.  When worn around a simple shirtdress with neoprene sleeves, the effect was unexpected, eye-catching. Though, again, Phil, thickness round the waist...?

Still, we applaud the effort to look forward.  Also noteworthy: the sporty tops with neoprene or napa sleeves, an anorak dress (wide, utilitarian, in a super-light navy chintz silk cotton mix), and a green coat with large black patch pockets.

"A loitering presence" was Lim's only description of the line in his program notes.  You can loiter anytime, Mr. Lim.

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