well done, mr lam

I had one of those "oh, who made that?!" moments when I was flipping through the January issue of Harper's Bazaar a while back, and was rather surprised when I realised that this cute dress that made me flip to a halt was by Derek Lam -

I never really had a thing for Derek Lam, even though he was pretty lauded as a promising talent right from the start (by Vogue definitions anyway), and he scored a pretty big coup first by designing a capsule collection for Tod's and then becoming their creative director - which must mean he's doing something right isn't it?
But his clothes, which seemed to me to be defined by pretty frocks and feminine tops, didn't make all that much of an impression on me, and I've never bothered to check out his collections when I hit style.com to check out the latest collections.

His spring collections has me sitting up and paying attention though - he seems to have taken a few lessons from the Marni school of colour combinations and did some nice colour block things that while slightly deriative, has a lighter, easier feel - less art student and more breezy urbanite -

I also like the loose shift in a boxy shape - maybe it's the fact that it's shown on a model, but it seems to be Mr Lam has done it without it looking like a hospital smock. I've seen dresses like this, but they're usually cut in satin, which is not my ideal fabric. For those who want to smarten it a little, a belt would come in useful in this instance.

Points awarded also to the pockets on the dresses, very Coco Chanel -
My obsession is anything with pockets, especially if they're big enough to jam my hands and tuck in my mobile phone and small change. This dress below has a great mix of colour (the whole collection is a great mix of colour) and I like the chalky stripes - reminiscent of the seaside without being obviously nautical and kitschy.
I am biased, I like this look because this is my usual look for day, though I usually wear flats rather than heels.
But Mr Lam's separates are indeed a highlight of the collection, in particular this skirt -

High-waisted and full, but minus the prom dress/50s' housewife factor - very nice.

Worthy of mention also are his sophomore effort at accessories.

Mr Lam debuted a collection of bags for fall that were actually rather distinctive and accomplished-looking for a first attempt, but I didn't like the Gucci-ish knockers on the bags, which looked to me to date pretty fast. For someone with a subtle touch, he did something that looked like what Rachel Zoe did for Judith Leiber. And that's not a compliment.

What he got right were the shapes, and for spring, his bags were eye-catching and featured a nice mix of materials and colours. Check out the seersucker-and-leather combination here -

And here -

Chalky grey is a nice new hue for a bag -

And considering we've been bombarded with every variation of the platform recently, this sandal still stood out heads-and-shoulders above everyone else's.

So well played, Mr Lam, well played.
Pictures from style.com


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