NEW YORK, United States — Today Derek Lam showed his Spring/Summer 2018 collection beneath a monumental Alexander Calder mobile in the plush environs of The Pool, a restaurant inside the Philip Johnson-designed Seagram’s Building uptown. It’s the kind of chic, understated eatery one would expect Derek’s customers to lunch at — and context is a powerful thing.
Backstage, Lam waxed lyrical on American luxury, and it felt authentic when his clothes walked past in those pared-back surroundings; they looked expensive and they felt expensive, with details like tortoiseshell buckles, cabochon studs and smooth leather patches elevating the matte cotton and linen fabrics he favours over silks.
Though Lam has often drawn an austere, planed silhouette, for Spring/Summer 2018 he played with volume in intricate ways, as both drawstring necklines and midriff, keyhole blouses captured an avant-garde 1980’s flair. Adding graphic appeal, stripes and club jacquards mingled through the colour-blocked silhouettes as easy day suits, and button-down shirt dresses held a kaftan ease. The safari jacket and trench coat both marched out in multiple iterations — at times a pocket from one here, a belt from the other there — resulting in sophisticated tailored hybrids.
But while Lam’s clothes can skew uptight, there was a fluidity present here by way of long layers, belted waists and topstitched bows that took this collection to a softer place. He attributed that to a sense of ‘wanderlust’ which echoed in the outdoorsy palette and the raw feel of this faded yet opulent outing.