Pow! Zoom! Whaam! If you haven’t already noticed, it’s the summer of the comic book superhero. The Avengers has been dominating the box office for many weeks now, because let’s face it, even if you’re not into action flicks you probably are into watching handsome, muscle-bound men flex their muscles. And that’s only the beginning of this summer’s movie season; we still have The Dark Knight Rises (aka Batman 3) and The Amazing Spider-Man to look forward to as well. Plus, if you’re in the Midwest you may know that Roy Lichtenstein has hit Chicago in a big way with his comic book inspired paintings being featured at the Art Institute of Chicago in, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, which will travel east and then aboard in the coming months. And if that’s not enough to convince anyone that superheroes are on trend for this summer, designer Phillip Lim has a pre-fall 2012 collection that looks to be inspired from the golden age of comic books.
Thankfully, Lim looked past the kitchiness that can often be found in comic books and left the spandex and tights for the superheroes themselves. Although a few of his tops have ‘KA-BAM’ (gotta love an onomatopoeia) spelled out in familiar graphic novel font and design, for the most part Lim stayed true to his aesthetic with only a heavy nod towards the classic comic book style. 3.1 Phillip Lim, Lim’s fashion label, is often described as cool, casual and pretty and his noir comic-inspired pre-fall collection are all those things. It features structured, boxy jackets, with little fuss, seemingly reminiscent of the Dick Tracy comics which featured detectives and gangsters alike wearing double-breasted suits and bulky overcoats. Other outer pieces have cape-like features, most are color-blocked separates constructed from lightweight — if not almost futuristic — materials worthy of anyone fighting crime or the day-to-day battles of urban living. A few of the garments are even reversible, allowing the wearer to transform their ensemble almost as if they were Superman or Wonder Woman, but without needing a phone booth, thank goodness since there aren’t many of those around anymore.
Comic-Con is probably the most famous comic book convention in the world, attracting dedicated fans who often dress as their favorite character and while some of the costumes themselves are amazingly accurate to its drawn counterparts and/or movie adaptations, fashion is not the end result. Comic books and high-end fashion are two areas that don’t normally mesh, but Lim may have struck on something. People often use clothing to transform themselves whether it’s to look a certain way in order to fit in or stand out. Superheroes are often doing the same thing; Clark Kent, Peter Park and Bruce Wayne are all just normal men trying to fit into the main stream, but as soon as they change clothes, they’re something more. While most of us don’t have superhuman abilities, it is amazing how the right garments for the right situation (think of wearing a superbly made suit on a business interview) can transform us and often give us the confidence conquer the challenge ahead.
1. Superman Comic Book Cover Featuring Lois Lane, Wikipedia
2. Spider-Man Comic Book Strip Featuring Mary Jane Watson, Wikipedia
3. Phillip Lim Pre Fall 2012 Neo Noir Comic Book Inspired Collection, Style.com
4. Roy Lichtenstein Girl With Ball Painting, MOMA.org
5. Phillip Lim Pre Fall 2012 Neo Noir Comic Book Inspired Collection, Style.com
6. Roy Lichtenstein I Know Brad Painting, reproductiongallery.com
– Bonnie J Brown
Image Layout: Second City Style