Phillip Lim’s “special brand of quirky cool” and serious collections with comic undertones have earned him immeasurable success. Born in Thailand to Chinese parents, Lim moved to Orange County, California as an infant with his mother, a seamstress, and his father, a professional poker player. Forever a proponent of simplicity and clean-cut basics, Lim, as a child, would direct his mother as she made his clothing; he told New York Magazine, “I look at pictures of myself when I was 5 years old and I think that, yes, that is exactly what I like.”
It makes sense that Lim would be drawn to Pop Art, with its blunt, representational images, particularly the classic artworks of Roy Lichtenstein. For the Pre-Fall 2012 collection for his 3.1 line, interspersed among the muted colors and sleek designs of peacoats, leather skirts, zip-off blazers, and reversible puffer jackets, Lim slipped in Lichtenstein-inspired sweaters, tees, and accessories. Suggesting the heroic feats necessary to create four collections for men and women each year, the designer took his inspiration from dark superhero comics like Sin City and V for Vendetta, in addition to Lichtenstein’s iconic Pop motifs, including the Crying Girl and the explosive “KA-POW” in eye-popping primary colors. That fall, Lim also teamed up with comic book professionals, including artist Jan Duursema, to create his own superhero comic book, Kill the Night, which featured heroines dressed in designs from his latest collection.