September 08, 2008
After a brief side trip into Isak Dinesen-land last season, with its heavy lace, black net pinafore, and jet beading, Derek Lam was back on familiar ground for Spring: all-American sportswear with a languid attitude informed by his native California. A few days before his show, he explained that his dual inspirations were Coco Chanel in Venice circa 1939 and Venice Beach in 2009. "I've been trying to understand what makes her, more than anyone, look so contemporary," Lam said. "I think it's because she always looked natural." With that as his mandate, Lam designed easy dresses with adjustable drawstring waists in white matte jersey and tangerine crepe de chine for day and copper lamé for evening. His suiting, too, had a fluidity of movement: Key looks were a slouchy pajama jacket with an asymmetrical scarf lapel that topped a camp shirt, loosely cuffed utility shorts and a nude vest, and an A-line tank and cropped cigarette pants combo.
Lam gave shout-outs to a couple of the season's emerging trends: makeup colors, for one, and jumpsuits for another. A black one-shoulder satin faille version that Lam dubbed a "trouser gown" captured the mood he was going for. He added some glittery beaded dresses to the mix, but unfortunately the collection as a whole failed to generate enough heat to keep his crowd interested.