Fashion Week: Kanye Commands the S.S. Phillip Lim


Of all the invitations we’ve received to Fashion Week, the one for 3.1 Phillip Lim in the Tent (with a capital T) at Bryant Park is the prettiest. Red thread has actually been sewn into the paper to make a swirling “PL” design suitable for framing. Many designers e-mailed invitations this year to cut costs. But not Lim, who, as New York magazine reported, could afford to give Christmas bonuses to his employees (what a guy!). His secret? His clothes look more expensive than they actually are and can easily be found in boutiques in Brooklyn rather than tucked away on the designer floor of Saks.

Inside the Tent, Anna Wintour is giving a television interview from her front-row seat while her bodyguard hovers beside her. We know those PETA folks are dangerous to her wardrobe, but the ever-present bodyguard seems a little much. We become paranoid that there are plain clothes Anna guards and snipers hiding in the audience prepared to gun down excited bloggers who get too close with their sad little digital cameras. So, we settle for a portrait of her bob.

What we love about Lim is that he’s all about the rock aesthetic. Listed in the program of 51 looks are coats and suits with names like “Hendrix,” “Bowie,” and “Sergeant Pepper.” In keeping with the rock ‘n’ roll theme, pixie singer-guitarist Lissy Trullie and band set up at the start of the runway. As the lights go down, there’s a last-minute surprise: our old pal Kanye struts out from backstage in a navy-blue admiral’s uniform as though he’s the commander of the S.S. Phillip Lim. Trailing him is his colorful entourage, many dressed like crew members of his ship. And, at his side, is bad-girl model Amber Rose, who has topped off her sexy strapless dress with white kid gloves.

It’s hard to focus on the clothes now that Amber Rose is squeezing Kanye’s knee, but we try. There’s a swinging London ’60s feel to the pieces with lots of mini dresses and skirts (including a fantastic black-striped marabou feather bumblebee mini), ruffled shirts, and mussed nape-length bobs with bangs.

What we’re looking for is the one piece that, if we start saving now, we might be able to afford in November. Therefore, it has to be something practical like a coat. And there are more than plenty to choose from. We like the ivory “Sergeant Pepper” coat, but–who are we kidding?–that’d be dirty in two hours. Instead, something like the ebony wool lieutenant coat (pictured at top) or the short charcoal-grey wool plaid cover-up would do nicely.

Archive Highlights