Phillip Lim has just arrived to Il Faro. He’s wearing three Chrome Hearts bracelets on each arm. They shake as he orders a dirty martini. Lim is rolling West Coast-style. The Thailand-born designer was based in Los Angeles until he moved to New York in 2004 at the request of friend We Zhou. “She said, ‘We’re staring a company,’ and she never let me go back,” he says. They founded Phillip Lim 3.1 on what Lim calls the “Bobby Brady principle.” He explains the theory behind it, “I can’t afford expensive clothes, but I don’t want throw away clothes.” The idea was to push for quality at a lower price point. The result: sixty-four pieces from T-shirts to evening dresses. Lim’s been watching the evolving needs of the New York girl from day one. “A tribe of dandelions,” is how he refers to the new crop of style eccentrics. “Everything around us is so fragile; the world is so loud. Dandelions hold the eccentricity inside,” he says. “It’s the opposite now.” He cites his trench that can be rolled into a scarf as the ultimate versatile piece for day-within-day-dressing. “The world’s changed into day within day, not day to night. It feels like two days to me and it’s only 5:30.” Lim’s been going strong ever since the start of his company seven years ago, which means long days that start with a meditation in his “Charlie Brown garden” of a refurbished fire escape. Here amid the grapevine and honeysuckle, he takes deep breaths and eases into his first day within a day.
We love Stevie, Thakoon Panichgul’s Yorkie mutt who he found in New Jersey almost three years ago. She’s now sleeping in the designer’s arms. “She gets really needy during the show,” says Panichgul. He sometimes carries her around in a papoose. Today, she’s a little frightened he might leave her again. He’s just back from being in Asia for three weeks. His first stop was Tokyo, Japan for Tasaki, the jeweler he collaborates with on punk pearl pieces. Next, he went to Thailand where he was born (he moved to Omaha, Nebraska when he was ten) to see family and meet with the Advising Deputy of Commerce to consult on fashion and the cultivation of a local contemporary art scene. Panichgul will meet with the Prime Minister on his upcoming visit to New York.
Behind his desk hangs a copy of the Elizabeth Peyton portraying Mrs. Obama in one of his dresses on the night of her husband’s nomination; a Nara print; and a tear sheet of a Thakoon’s look from one of Grace Coddington’s Vogue stories in which someone drew an ibis head in place of the model’s face. It was spotted among a spread of New York City street art. There’s also a print from artist Laurie Simmons, who Panichgul collaborated with on prints for his Spring 09 collection. The two met at a dinner hosted by galleriest Angela Westwater. “I turned to her and said, ‘I’m a fan or yours,’” says Panichgul of first meeting Simmons. “She turns to me and says, ‘and I’m a fan of yours.’”
Panichgul is wearing a black and white floral shirt, his first try at menswear. He has plans to perhaps do more in the future. Now, though, it’s time to focus on the collection. “I don’t design with the frame of mind that everything has to be sketched from A to Z,” he says. “It should be said it’s a process which ends up the destination too. It’s not just about the end result.” That said, Stevie stands on his desk and tries to eat an R2D2-shaped USB memory stick. All part of the process.
I’m probably going to do Easter Parade. It’s so good, says Christopher Niquet of his choice film during the Judy Garland Festival. The stylist is a big fan‹and h’¹s very particular, in the most charming, decisive way, as a stylist should be. Niquet looks like a character out of Truffaut film (he’s been asked numerous times to appear in friends’ productions, requests he’s graciously declined). The one time model is happier behind the lens. Today, he’s wearing a custom made Hilditch & Key shirt. He started going to the shop when he was twenty-one to see Mademoiselle Fraise with her died black Margaret Thatcher bouffant and pencil drawn freckles. “Regard qu’il est petit!“, Niquet says imitating Fraise’s response to his tiny frame.
When not watching Garland films, Niquet is checking out an assortment of obscure movies or Jewelry TV, his newfound cable obsession. On his left hand is a ring he designed with a citrine amethyst flanked by diamonds he had removed from a Regards brooch. Niquet was studying comparative lit at the Sorbonne for six months before he became so bored he decided to pursue an outside internship (he would eventually drop out after two years). He sent letters to French Vogue, the archive department of Liberation newspaper and Self Service. The latter ended up offering him a spot. He quickly went from intern to model and then fashion editor and integral part of the team. There was a moment when he considered leaving editorial for a stint at the Virgin record label in art direction. As much as I thought I didn’t want to be in fashion, I liked that side of it, he says. He was soon meeting with Jean Toitou, head of APC, about his own record label. When Niquet heard Cat Power playing in the office, he mentioned that she’d been staying at his house the past few months. This intrigued Toitou. Soon, Niquet was tapping deeper into his circle and keen eye for talent, brining Lou Doillon to APC. They two had a ‘café friendship’ as tends to happen in Paris when two people run into each other at the same neighborhood haunts. Niquet told Toitou to cast the 14-year-old and he did. She went on to shoot Italian Vogue. Niquet also collaborated with Charles Anastase, Bobby Gillepsie and Zoe Cassavetes, “anyone we knew we thought was cool, we’d bring over to do a project.” He soon returned to magazines as to fashion director at Mixte (“I’m really objective about work. If someone’s crazy enough to let me do my own magazine, why not?”) where he worked with the likes of David Bailey and then at twenty eight decamped to New York.
The building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District where we find Rag & Bone also houses Christy Turlington and Craig McDean’s offices. Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, the designers of the label, have taken over three floors, a change from the midtown space where they worked in 2006, just three employees unpacking boxes and shipping UPS.
“Back then, we were fighting for our lives, doing everything on our own,” says Neville. The two childhood friends now sit next to each other at desks from the old spot. “We should probably upgrade.” There’s been a lot of expansion going on as Neville and Wainwright have opened shops in Georgetown and Boston. In New York alone, there’s the flagship on Christopher Street, as well as Soho and Nolita locations. It was during a meeting set up as part of the CFDA/Fashion Fund program, that the two met mentor Ralph Lauren. His most important advice: to open up a branded store.
“A mash up of English tailoring and New York sportswear,” is how Wainwright describes the clothes, many pieces produced in a Kentucky workwear factory. For Spring, the designers will be looking to colour (turquoise! orange!) 70′s surfing and gypsy, festival style. It’s edging close to the collection, but there’s no break from the usual coolness. Wainwright and Nevill like to leave around 6:15am. “We’ll hit it hard for a week,” says Wainwright of the days just prior to the show. “At the start, we made a conscious decision that first and foremost this should be fun to do.” Neville suddenly motions to his computer. “I can’t believe he wore that shirt,” he says laughing. There on the screen is Jimmy Fallon on Access Hollywood in a Hawaiian shirt given to him by the guys days ago.
Stay tuned for parts II and III today!
For entertaining during fashion week
Are you reading this on holiday? Lucky you.
Many of the faces within these pages are back at work prepping for the upcoming collections. There seems to be characteristic industry confusion about what American holiday it is exactly that falls at the end of September (Labor Day or Memorial Day?) It doesn’t matter, because this long weekend doesn’t exist for those in the thick of show
Here, we present stylist Kate Young’s favorite dish for entertaining friends after a long day on set or in the studio. “Easy, fresh, bright, delicious–and good anytime of year,” is how she describes this celery and fennel salad served with lemon pasta. Perfect when there’s no time to shop and everyone else is ready to party.
Start with negroni’s to drink! Campari, gin, vermouth and a slice of orange.
Celery and fennel salad:
Peel and slice celery to suit number of guests attending the dinner.
Peel and slice 1 fennel bulb.
Chop a handful of parsley.
Mix it all together with a handful of shave Parmesan and dress with
olive oil, lemon juice and a light vinegar.
Boil some fresh linguine.
Add the juice and zest of one lemon, a couple tablespoons of creme fraiche, a handful of grated Parmesan (“The one that Maxmara gives as an Christmas present is divine,” says Young), some olive oil and a handful of torn basil.
When the pasta is done throw it into the bowl and toss around. Add some of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Serve with more Parmesan and hot red pepper flakes.