A month into the lockdowns last spring Phillip Lim came up with the concept for a new capsule collection of comfortable essentials. They’re leisurely, but they’re not exercise clothes, and they have the added benefit of being antibacterial. Each drop is named for a mantra: The first was Live Free, the second is Be Present, and the third will be With Gratitude. Reflecting on the line’s genesis Lim described it as an effort to “merge my personal life journey with what I do professionally.”
Like many designers pre-pandemic, Lim had been experiencing the pressures of ever-quickening production schedules and the churn of trends, exacerbated by fast fashion brands and the rise of Instagram-born, direct-to-consumer brands. The simplicity of Live Free, which he began selling online in November, is a rejoinder to what he frankly calls “all that bullshit.”
Turning his eye back to his main collection, he wanted to hold on to the purpose and function of Live Free, but imbue it with more emotion. “What would make people feel hopeful?” he asked. Officially, the season is pre-fall, but internally Lim and his team call it MJJ for May, June, and July, and it was designed with those sweltering New York City months in mind. Slip dresses in sherbet-y shades of technical taffeta with floaty hems capture the carefree, joyful feeling of that time of year best. Even if young people are still waiting for the vaccine, that’s likely to be the attitude they’ll want to strike.
Lim was equally up-front when he said this will be a year of rebuilding. He’s approaching it strategically, shrinking the collection and stripping it of any fluff, without losing the whimsy that he sees as integral to the 3.1 DNA. It’s a balancing act, but the veteran Lim is better equipped than most to succeed. His mantra: “It’s about owning my own brand.”
Text: Nicole Phelps
Photo: Courtesy of 3.1 Phillip Lim