Fashion & Beauty / AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Phillip Lim on Tomasz Gudzowaty's Young Acrobats

Ahead of the 3.1 Phillip Lim S/S16 show today, we present an interview with the designer from the new issue of AnOther Magazine, in which he muses on the evolution of his eponymous label

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Young Acrobats from Wuqiao, China 2007, by Tomasz Gudzowaty
Young Acrobats from Wuqiao, China 2007, by Tomasz Gudzowaty© Tomasz Gudzowaty / Gudzowaty Foundation / Agentur Focus

“It’s time to stop and smell the roses,” exclaims fashion designer Phillip Lim, 42, his eyes smiling as he reflects on the fast approaching tenth anniversary of his New York-based fashion house. We meet mere hours after the 3.1 Phillip Lim S/S16 menswear show in Paris and, for a man who has just survived a 6am call time and the aftermath of adrenaline and obligation that a runway show brings, he appears positively zen. Perhaps it stems from the quiet success that has kept his brand independent for close to a decade, steaming along with his unfussy, uptown/downtown mix of easy elegance that speaks to a savvy global clientele.

“People always ask me, ‘Did you know what you wanted to do, and do you know what you want next?’ And my answer is always ‘No!’” he says, shrugging off praise for his talent and a work ethic that has earned him a slew of CFDA awards. When we invited Lim to illustrate his tenth anniversary with a single image, he didn’t hesitate: Polish documentary photographer Tomasz Gudzowaty’s Young Acrobats From Wuqiao, China 2007. “I love the acrobats because there is such a temporal feeling to their exercise,” says Lim. “I always try to appreciate the most fleeting moments. The idea of the acrobats constantly tumbling and trying to adjust – I think that is what we do with aesthetics. It is a cyclical rhythm.”

“I always try to appreciate the most fleeting moments. The idea of the acrobats constantly tumbling and trying to adjust – I think that is what we do with aesthetics. It is a cyclical rhythm” – Phillip Lim 

To mark that evolution, the designer promises a celebration for his S/S16 womenswear anniversary show in New York, but when we meet his focus is elsewhere. “I am shading in the flowers of my tattoo!” he reveals, exposing the intricate blossoms that cover both arms, an eight-year work in progress. “The artist asked me what colours I want, and I told him, ‘The colours of when the flower is about to die.’ It’s that point where it’s the last breath, the last effort.” He may have such romantic notions every day, but it is refreshing to encounter a designer with his feet on the ground and head in the clouds – driven by a genuine sense of perspective. Tumble on, acrobat.

This article appears in the A/W15 issue of AnOther Magazine. 

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