this is the first time that i saw an item on a runway and determined to buy it. there were a lot of great pieces in the show, but i knew this top would blend seamlessly into my functional wardrobe, be quietly noticeable, and perhaps even affordable, in a manner relative to garments shown on a new york runway. i stalked the phillip lim website for months, until the lookbook was posted, and then used the corresponding code number to pre-order the sweatshirt through nordstrom.
that process was somewhat breathless to a girl much more accustomed to choosing whatever looks promising from a cluster of hangers in a thrift store. the sales associate on the phone told me that the michigan avenue nordstrom would only receive three of the sweaters, one in each size, and that she would put the small aside for me when it came in.
of the 3.1 phillip lim pre-fall collection, this piece leapt out at me as something i’d want to frequently wear. because the design is quilted, tone-on-tone, i wouldn’t tire of garish embellishments or feel allergic to colors. there aren’t even metallic threads! also, the gray sweatshirt is so ubiquitous and classic in american style that i have no fear of it losing versatility or relevance. (not that i really worry about those concepts.)
when i picked up the sweatshirt, just a few weeks before my birthday, i did not even try it on in the store. it looked plenty roomy and fairly close to how it had appeared on the runway… although something seemed a little different. i plopped down my credit card, skipped lunch, and returned to work. upon further inspection, the sweatshirt was extra-extra-large on me, which was fine, and the cotton was appreciably thick and heavy. the only sad part was examining the interior handiwork, and realizing how easy (and industrially-replicable) the quilting process was. the phoenix design looks great, but with an embroidery program, producing the effect doesn’t require much more technology than screen-printing. (which helps explain the variety of knock-offs.)
the first idea i had about styling the sweatshirt was just to go as obvious as possible. little leather shorts with my petrol docs. tomboy, no-nonsense, understated. the illustration, in colored pencil, really brings a lot to the look that isn’t achieved with photography. by layering colors, Shua enhanced the colors around the legs, the competing iridescence of the boots, and the purple highlights in my hair, letting the outfit have an impactful neutrality. you have to forgive me for the mismatched laces though. that was a moment of crisis, and the broken shoestring has since been replaced by a proper pair.