Derek Lam: Architectural Fashion

Luxury Fashion: Four years ago we wrote that Derek Lam would one day design a great collection. Today we can report that we were present at that creation.

Lam is one of the half dozen young America design talents who have long been tipped for success. Tuesday lunch-time in a Chelsea show space he presented a coherent vision of how self-assured women can dress, an inspired piece of editing and construction which confirms all the promise he has shown in his career so far.

Like lots of the best international designers, Lam got his inspiration from architecture, ultimately the closet cousin to fashion in the creative world.

"Walking to work each day between Chelsea and the Meatpacking District I get to enjoy all sorts of views of Frank Gehry's building, from which I got a lot of the impetus for this collection," a quietly satisfied Lam told FWD post show, referring to Gehry's design of Barry Diller's IAC headquarters.

Lam's astute sense of how to assemble a garment was apparent from the very first looks: seamed riding pants, curvy shouldered coats, slick felt wool dresses with internal corsets and wrapped tailored dresses. A professional would term these clothes sophisticated American sportswear, which is an unfortunately miserly term to describe extremely flattering clothes that look just right for today.

Derek's also growing into a savvy colorist, whose sense of the understated and complimentary hue is impressive. Banker gray, techno whites, cinder, taupe and parchment might have been a narrow enough range, but the way they all seemed right for each other showed how hard this young designer has been working.

Lam's already been performing well with Tod's of Italy with a retailer-friendly collection and one could not help noticing that Tod's owner Diego della Valle was accompanied into the backstage by ex Gucci boss Domenico de Sole. The normally effusive de Sole did not want to catch our eye, which means some sort of deal is in the offing. Of which, more later.

Backed up by a great New Order soundtrack courtesy of one mrwilsondj, worn by a cool casting of the right current girls - poised Behati, leggy Lara and self-assured Maryna - the show marked the arrival of Lam as a major designer. It's nice to remember that, even in fashion, nice guys can win too.

February 6th, 2007-By Godfrey Deeny
Courtesy of Fashion Wire Daily


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