Once you have a design signature, it’s time to start thinking of how to evolve it. That’s certainly the case for Wei Lin and Zoe Champion, the designers behind PH5 and its recognizable wavy hemlines and compact knit dresses. Partly because the design process is so intensive (their bestselling Jodie dress takes 12 hours for a machine to knit because of the complexities of the waist detailing), it’s hard to imagine PH5 being successfully imitated. But that doesn’t mean Lin and Champion are able to get complacent. “Our first resort season was signature pieces in new colorways. For this resort we wanted to look at those signature pieces and what they mean to us now as a brand,” Champion says.
They looked to the work of two female sculptors who have honored the female form with their abstract (and, yes, wavy) work: Barbara Hepworth and Kim Lim. Indeed, Lin and Champion view their work as designers as a kind of sculpture as well: turning something as flat as yarn into a 3D, moldable, portable work of art.
The clothes, as always, are functional interpretations of these artistic visions. Each of the designs are made with responsible materials, primarily recycled viscose and nylon, Ecovero viscose, and wool that reaches the Responsible Wool Standard. There are midi skirts and bra tops in an ombré that was painstakingly coded into the knitting machines by Lin and Champion; cardigans that can convert into vests; skorts (a popular item for their customers); and, of course, minis and dresses with that signature, undulating hemline.
These items are repeated in three colorways: yellow and blue; pale pink and magenta; and black and gray-blue. The pièce de résistance, though, is a black evening gown that from the front is pretty standard. The back features a blue-trimmed cutout that to the trained eye looks like a Hepworth sculpture, but to mine at first was more like Gumby. Bisected by a chain, that little cutout rises to the challenge of PH5’s mission statement of being a sculptural, innovative knitwear brand.