3.1 Phillip Lim

For a few years now, Phillip Lim has unwittingly managed to lead the charge for the independents, proving you don't have to be huge to make a huge impact. In fact, his mastery of the balance between the intimate and the awesome is nowhere better on display than in his shiny new shop on Mercer Street. Opening tomorrow, the designer's maiden retail venture is an appropriate follow up to his recent CFDA award for womenswear.
Designed with architect Jeremy Barbour of Tacklebox, NYC, the 3.1 Phillip Lim space has a warm yet soaring feel. As Lim puts it, it offers the sense of "possibilities." Here, the designer takes us inside on the eve of his opening.
philliplim_portraitHow long have you been thinking about opening up your own store?
It has been since the beginning of the brand. I've always wanted to have a space to really showcase the range in the way that I see it. To showcase the 'possibilities' of the clothes, the brand, the lifestyle and how I imagine the 3.1 phillip lim world.
How did you arrive on the location?
SoHo is the perfect intersection of all people; from the artsy downtowners, to the more discerning uptowners, to the naïve freshness of tourists descending upon the city. I felt it was the same scope of appeal that our collection has.
What were the biggest ideas you wanted to communicate with the space?
"Possibilities"…and the proposition of "why not?"
How does the space correspond to and complement the clothes?
It corresponds and complements by being indifferent to the clothes. Humble, hand-worn materials are used and super-imposed with high tech precision machine- techniques. The result is a space of forward motion, which still maintains a familiar intimacy.
Draw out some details in the interior that are inherently "you"?
I think the humbleness of the materials we worked with…such as using oak-base-board flooring stacked up vertically, revealing perfect imperfections, creating a feeling that is dynamic and modern. Another example is the lower-level flooring, which is composed of concrete cinder-blocks [typically used for outdoor spaces] aligned to create a beautiful raw mosaic of gray flooring. Somehow, the juxtaposition yields something that's timeless, new, and elegant…while always maintaining a playful attitude.
Are there more 3.1 shops in the works?
Hopefully yes! We are scouting locations in Los Angeles, as well as starting a dialogue to venture abroad.
What response do you hope followers of 3.1 will have to the space?
I hope they like it! I just want them to come in and feel a connection—and feel warm and fuzzy all over.
How long did it take from start to finish…anything you weren't expecting?
It took about four months…it has been quite a ride. But, we definitely were fortunate to work with an amazing architect firm, Tacklebox, NYC, and construction company, Fulton Landing. It really was a group project.
Anything in particular that you used as inspiration?
I was being naïve. I suppose you can say "naïvete is bliss." We went into the project with eyes closed, and hearts open!
3.1 Phillip Lim, 115 Mercer Street, NYC, (212) 334-1160, www.31philliplim.com
The designer's shiny new flagship makes its SoHo debut.

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