Phillip Lim Boutique Opening Brings Lights and Sounds to Saks Fifth Avenue

Artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi and designer Phillip Lim at the opening of the 3.1 Phillip Lim shop with W magazine
(Billy Farrell Agency/

All boutique openings have champagne, all boutique openings have canapes, and of course all boutique openings have DJs. So why not switch out the latter with something more intriguing? For the launch of his “shop-in-shop” at Saks Fifth Avenue last night, Phillip Lim sprang for more than just a turntablist. He got Sebastien Perrin, a Sound Designer.

What custom designs of sounds tickled the eardrums of partygoers as they their chugged bubbly? Those at the opening passed the pastel frocks sprawled on the tables and heard, well, sounds. Noodling cloud synths bounced off the speakers where the scruffy Perrin, wearing a cardigan and chomping on bubblegum, worked his magic.

The churning repetitions, the minor keys, were like Phillip Glass scoring a Tim Burton stop-motion animation movie.

The stylish guests perusing tops didn’t seem to notice the music that was playing, and neither did Stefano Tonchi, editor of W, who was cheek-kissed by his co-workers at the magazine. Harder to ignore, though, was the installation by Nobuhiro Nakanishi. It was one of his layered sunrise works, a picture of a city in morning spread out among 50 or so opaque sheets. When caught in the right light, and looked at from the right angle, any combination of colors could be seen.

The designer finally showed up after the crowd had helped itself to enough cucumber cocktails to be tipsy — and perhaps make tipsy purchases. Lim was wearing himself: a chequered sport coat, flared black pants and flared black shorts, topped with a pair of Nike sneakers. As the party photographer snapped pictures of the designer with his models, the flash lit up the installation, making a tiny but beautiful rainbow inside its connected sheets. The only person who seemed to notice, though, was a man who walked toward the exit, Apple earbuds plugged in as the unheard sounds were designed around him.

Click on the slide show to see images from the Phillip Lim "shop-in-shop" opening at Saks Fifth Avenue.