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July 25 2014

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Derek Lam: It’s All In The Mix

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The first Tod’s shoe was the famous driving moc, and decades later, the pebble-soled loafer is still going strong. The label recently commissioned photographer Elliott Erwitt to shoot a few of its own personal style icons wearing Tod’s for an exhibition called Icons by an Icon. (It’s too modest to add “Wearing an Icon” to the end of that title.) Erwitt shot the likes of Amanda Brooks and family, Ahn Duong and Bart Quillen, the Rowley-Powers clan, and more, each at their homes. (“Like shooting fish in a barrel,” Erwitt said of the difficulty in making beautiful people look good in their beautiful homes—though as for the moc, he’s more of a sneaker man himself.) Brooks and Duong joined Tod’s creative director Derek Lam for a lunch at Berdgorf Goodman today, where several versions of the moc in exclusive new colors and fabrications (including crocodile and python) are now on sale.

“It kind of speaks for itself,” Lam said of the evergreen style. (He prefers his in navy blue.) But does it go with Derek Lam? “If people know that I’m designing for both, they want to see the thread of what I do: softness, femininity, a sense of relaxed, laid-back spirit. They want to see that in everything I design,” the designer continued. “I think every customer I have mixes and matches. I was just at an event at Barneys and was talking to one of their top personal shoppers, who was saying they don’t really sell it head to toe. I said that’s great, because I don’t really design head to toe—I think of things very much as isolated items. Then I put them together to make a proposal about how it can look, but that’s, I think, very different from the European designers, who think very much, this is a total look. I’m about the item—what makes the item valid again, what makes it cool, what makes it interesting for the season. Then it’s really up to the customer to integrate in terms of their lifestyle. I think that’s why it works with my work at Tod’s. I look at things from a very itemized place. I think that’s the only modern way to dress. I look at the women here and everybody’s mixing brands.” He gestured around the room and laughed. “Yeah, I wish everybody would just buy just Derek Lam, but…”

Photo: Neil Rasmus/PatrickMcMullan.com

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