After completing a degree at Central Saint Martins under the late, adored Louise Wilson, Sander Lak landed in the ateliers of Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim and Balmain (under Christophe Decarnin, that is), and eventually landed in the position of head of design at Dries Van Noten. This all culminates into one of the most exciting debuts during the Fall/Winter 2016 shows in New York. Lak showed his collection, Sies Marjan, on Sunday. Prior to the show, Lak was resistant to speaking of the collection, stating that he wanted the garments to speak for themselves, something that has arguably been lost in the mix of NYFW, where celebrity shows and over-the-top presentations of buzzy emerging and establish designers have taken center stage. Already, there is something to be adored about Lak and his collection but that’s not the point.
The interesting backstory behind this just-borne label is worth noting before we speak to the clothes. As WWD noted this weekend, Lak “was hired to create Sies Marjan by Joey Laurenti, the label’s chief executive officer, who is also president of the multibrand showroom Goods and Services. The showroom and Sies Marjan, in turn, are both properties of Deia LLC, a holding company formed in 2012 by Nancy and Howard Marks, the billionaire investor who cofounded Oaktree Capital Management […] Deia and Laurenti seem to be giving Lak the freedom and resources to build the brand to his vision.”
While it was one of the week’s most anticipated shows, it was staged on a relatively small scale. No excessive spectacle here. Instead, Lak’s debut took place in a rundown penthouse in Tribeca, and consisted of roughly 36 looks, consisting of wispy silk floral dresses – the first with a twisted cutout detail on the upper torso –oversized trousers, wrap skirts, and fur stoles worn like slouchy backpacks. There were also multi-colored knits and the rather interesting oversized, slightly deconstructed ruffle details.
Certainly, since Lak came most directly from Dries, the comparisons are there and they will be for some time. As Vogue’s Kristen Anderson noted: “One of the buzziest shows of NYW: Sies Marjan, from Dries alum, Sander Lak.” Blogger Susie Lau echoed: “Striking debut from former Dries van Noten head of design.” And as WWD put it: “The Dries influence weighted heavily, most obviously on his familiar use of color combinations: warm pastels offset by natural tones.”