THE SUCCESS OF HIS recent collaboration for Target suggests otherwise, but Phillip Lim calls himself a reluctant designer. "I kind of fell into this industry," says the 40-year-old, who graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in home economics. "Designing is like a second life for me." Lim started his 3.1 Phillip Lim label in 2005, crediting his skills to time spent in sewing factories in Southern California where his mother worked. For spring, the focus was "renewal," which led Lim to embrace his affinity for the physical world. (He wants to be a farmer in his third life.) Thoughts of the Galápagos Islands filled his head as he cut away at the metallic embroidery on an organza sweatshirt in the same way that the sea dissipates. All the while, he has stayed true to the brand's mantra—"classic with a sense of madness." On the docket is a new concept store on Manhattan's Great Jones Street set to open in early 2014. Until then, he'll keep following his instincts: "I don't want to re-create or reinvent. I just want to evolve."
1. BAG $1,075. 2. PANTS $450.3.Lim reimagined crystal geodes on sweaters and skirts. 4. SWEATSHIRT $750. 5. SKIRT $995. 6. Spring 2014. 7. DRESS $795. 8. Komodo dragons were also an influence. 9. SHOES $995.