Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week S/S 2016: The Big and Small Moments of 3.1 Phillip Lim’s 10th Anniversary Show

Madeline Poole is one of the nail world’s ultimate cool girls, so cool-girl outfitter Phillip Lim brought her in to handle an important detail of his 10th anniversary runway event.

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Backstage and ready to go at Phillip Lim; all images by Jessa Carter

Maya Lin is one of the art world’s most architecturally and environmentally aware sculptors, so she was Lim’s choice for designing the set for a conceptual, purposeful collection titled Stop and Smell the Flowers.

As a way of going both micro and macro, we got the scoop on Poole’s fun, trend-riffing contributions as well as insight on Lin and Lim’s earth-centered collaboration, which benefits the What Is Missing? Foundation and Perfect Earth Project.

“I immediately thought of working with the earth—as a symbol of regeneration and a way to focus attention on a life affirming vital element of nature: soil … —without which flowers couldn’t grow,” Lin expressed in a written statement.

What those early thoughts yielded were great piles of dirt placed alongside the runway inside Pier 94.

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The toxin-free organic soil (later to be repurposed in community gardens) was the sculptor and designer’s attempt to “raise awareness about the importance of supporting organic agriculture and landscape practices.”

The collection, and the styling, felt similarly organic in a holistic, whole-earth sort of way. The pops of geometric blue eyeliner from the NARS team did too. (But the shoes—those were simply Lim at his best.)

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For her part, Poole went through lots of options from teal gradients to colorful racing stripes before arriving on an appropriately chic earthy tone with a silver streak—a nod to the silver details on Lim’s anniversary handbags, and the fact that Poole’s just into stripes right now.madeline talkingnail thingThe nail artist said she and the overall team—Lim and his stylist and the hair and makeup squad—debated between several combinations of styles on the test models right up until the night before the show. It took her and a crew of seven working assembly-line style through the wee hours of the night for about seven hours to create the 1,000 fake nails necessary to accompany the fall looks.

So on one hand there were the giant mounds of dirt, and on the other … a small and painstaking detail that many viewers won’t be close enough to see. I asked Poole if she ever thought about that—the fact that so much work goes into this small and sometimes easy-to-miss element.

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“Yeah, sure,” she said immediately, but then looked around to the throngs of beauty reporters and nail bloggers who had lined up to talk to her about it and shrugged.

There’s something for everyone and an audience for everything—especially in fashion.

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Shop: current season 3.1 Phillip Lim

—Laura Cassidy and Jessa Carter