new york autumn winter 07/08

Derek Lam
by Marilyn Kirschner

Derek's inspirations this season come from the "fluidity and structure and beautiful asymmetry" of the Frank Gehry building on the West Side Highway which he drives by every day on his way to work. And so, the colors were appropriately sleek and urbane—black, banker grey and light grey, ivory, camel, loden, and navy. What is obvious is that the designer was intent on doing an about face from spring, which was routed in iconic American sportswear; and he obviously wanted to tough things up. Indeed, fall was uncharacteristally hard edged and very 80's with an almost futuristic look. The emphasis was on very short clothes (skirts, dresses, and coats), some of the skirts were flared and seamed and seaming was a thread throughout. Zippers, black leather accessories (python, crocodile, and suede) added to the overall mood through a variety of waist cinching belts and high heeled boots. There was even a black leather and suede seamed riding pant which was shown with many of the coats and jackets. Speaking of which, it appears Derek wanted to experiment with coats and the chic trench coats which have been a Derek Lam signature, were replaced this season by offerings like a boiled felt asymmetrical holster coat, a white tech sateen trench, and a taupe cavalry wool twill trench with grey and heather cashmere lining which was worn inside out.

Not surprisingly, the best pieces were the simplest- including several day dresses (the navy and tan wool plaid a line dress with black wool Sherpa trim looked good), evening dresses (the ivory wool and boiled felt dress with gold lame patchwork was interesting as was a gold silk lame draped asymmetrical dress with elastic trim. The two beautiful gowns at the end, a short sleeved French blue double crepe hooded bias gown and a white silk double crepe crewneck bias gown) served to remind us that simplistic elegance is at the heart of Derek's design philosophy.

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