Derek Lam’s reliable eye for tailoring and knack for reinventing American sportswear classics results in the kind of intelligent, beautiful clothes that appeal to thinking women season after season. His Spring/Summer 2016 show addressed multifaceted wardrobe needs, with looks that were polished, androgynous, and complex. Show notes reflected unusual inspiration for the collection, as Lam cited the new documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? as a jumping-off point. It tells the story of Nina Simone, a tortured, but endlessly talented, performer, who used her powerful voice to elicit sweeping change during the Civil Rights movement in America, but mental illness tragically affected her journey.
The show kicked off with a layered look that was repeated throughout the presentation, which layered together crisp shirting with bell sleeves, a knit tank, and a patchworked skirt. As oft repeated as the ensemble was, chances are most shoppers will forego the knit tank, allowing Lam’s handsome, starchy button-ups to be the centerpiece of their look instead. While Lam’s signature minimalism was in effect, the designer chose to amplify smooth surfaces with football lacing, contrast stitching, ribbon tassels, and oversized buttons. The most striking aspect of the collection came when sturdy layered looks were interrupted by gorgeous dresses with flirty sleeves, floating fabrics, and halter-neck details in shades of cream, navy, and black. Supple trench coats also won praise from show attendees, as did a suede khaki bomber and black-and-white ponyskin dress. If you want comfortable luxe you can live in, Lam’s collection has plenty of options.
At the end of it all, we were left to wonder what the purpose of Lam’s muse was. Simone was certainly stylish and ahead of her time when it came to fashion, but Lam wasn’t lifting her look. Instead, he was attempting to embody her spirit. This fact leaves us with a clear thesis: Lam empowers women by supplying a striking assemblage of clothes for those with complicated interiors — the artiste, the provocateur, the leader, and the poet all had their moment in the spotlight this season.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree