The young designer who won the coveted Swarovski Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear, “presented to an American designer who has made the greatest impact as an emerging new talent for his or her womenswear design through his or her Spring and Fall 2005 collections” , is obviously on a roll since his fall 2006 collection is the best one yet in his short career. It is also his most sophisticated, urbane, and polished.
He said that he wanted to move towards a “sharp, intense, graphic, almost neon color while keeping a dark and moody underlying palette” and achieved this by working with black, white, and khaki mixed in with yellow, emerald green, and turquoise. He showed different lengths and proportions, and experimented with volume, like so many other designers; he also layered with black leggings (below the knee length and ankle length) to infuse the citified designs with a street vibe. As always, it is his outstanding capes and coats that draw oohs and aahs and this time was no exception- defined by the ‘to die for’ khaki maxi length trench with Saga natural silver fox sleeves.
Tiny ruffles encircled pretty shirts and were juxtaposed with tuxedo trousers (a good example would be the black Swiss dot chiffon ruffle shirt and grey stretch flannel and velvet and lame stripe trouser pant). It is part of the ongoing play of masculine and feminine. Derek did not ignore eveningwear, making a statement with cocktail dresses and gowns. Noteworthy examples are the graceful draped black crepe chiffon one shoulder gown that echoed Mme. Gres, and the black belted turquoise laundered georgette one shoulder knee length dress. Making a case for ‘un’-basic black were the black velvet beaded and ruffled pieces, like the finale- a dramatic knee length black velvet devore stripe ruffle cape that was highly textural, worn over a short black crepe and Swiss dot knee length tunic dress.