I love this photo of fashion designer Derek Lam that I took backstage before his Spring 2011 show. He was posing for photos for another team and I was behind them hoping to get a nice shot when all of the sudden he turned and smiled at me. It really sums up his lovely personality and calm demeanor.
Derek Lam was inspired for Spring 2012 by Richard Neutra's architecture, Palm Springs, and a bit of the natural landscape of California. He liked that "Richard Neutra understood the formal and informal quality of California" and how people live while creating a "new vernacular for California architecture." This collection uses architecture as a jumping off point and has a wonderful sense of lightness. I usually don't think of prints when I think of Derek Lam but in addition to the use of bold colors like yellow, coral and peppermint, there are some fabulous kaleidoscope prints. As is always the case, Derek Lam creates pieces that a woman can add to her wardrobe. He doesn't expect you to throw out your entire closet and start over and I really appreciate that he understand that not all fashion has to be disposable. The simple silhouettes are made up for with a complexity in textures. I especially loved the ribbed knits with the eyelet and jacquard tweed skirts. All of the bright colors, textures and prints are off set by an abundance of white which definitely refers back to the architecture of Palm Springs.
I hovered and listened to all the other interviews he gave so I could get a sound bite in case I didn't get a chance to speak with him. I got lucky and he was kind enough to chat with me for a few minutes. After hearing so much about Richard Neutra and architecture, my first question was whether he'd like to do a home line. He said that he loved working on his own apartment and would welcome the challenge. Hear that home industry! I think he's be a natural at home accessories and furniture.
The show also happened to be scheduled on Sunday, September 11, the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It felt a little weird to be attending a show on this date but since the fashion industry was so adversely affected and so many people lost their lives and jobs, it also felt important to be out supporting them. When I was going through the run of show notes, I noticed a special note at the end about 9/11. "To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2011, and to honor those we lost, Derek Lam International, LLC has made a generous contribution to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum." Derek Lam is not just a talented designer but a very good person but I think you can see that in his smile.
Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic