Phillip Lim retains the characteristic, pragmatic, utilitarianism of the brand for the Pre-Fall collection

This season the designer doubled down on practicality, dispensing with the lofty thematic impulses that have guided his runway shows in the past for the 3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2019 collection.

The collection featured a classic two-piece ensemble to look like a one-piece jumper. Picture a check blazer tucked into a pair of high-waisted peg-leg pants—an unusual styling proposition that made surprisingly good sense. Lim also has a natural affinity for layering and managed to work the suggestions of sweetness and intimacy into the collection with the right amount of subtlety. Delicate lace-trimmed dresses were worn over baggy pleated pants and under techy all-weather trenchcoats and vests.

The small details were grounded in functionality, cut at forgiving angles away from the body like an apron and not remotely clingy. Lim created a Jean Cocteau–inspired print for the collection, perhaps the most romantic aspect of his offering. Those painterly brushstrokes added an unexpected sense of dreaminess to the designer’s twisted 1940s-style dresses and hooded knit ponchos that was safely in the realm of the real.