Having dabbled in retailing in the past year, Derek Lam doesn’t seem inclined to “stop at two.”
Lam opened a 2,800-square-foot flagship on Crosby Street in New York’s SoHo section in 2009 and followed up with a 1,200-square-foot store at 764 Madison Avenue in September. Now the 43-year-old designer is “intrigued by reaching the consumer directly” through more stores, as well as by potential collaborations with retailers “like Topshop,” he told WWD.
Lam made the remarks Friday during an alumni talk at his alma mater, Parsons The New School for Design, where he was joined by another graduate of Parsons’ Class of 1990, Jenna Lyons, president and executive creative director of J. Crew Group Inc.
“The best way to control your own destiny is through direct retail,” Lam said. “I’m really trying to be in touch with the consumer.”
He cited Karl Lagerfeld’s masstige ready-to-wear collection, which will be sold primarily online. “What Karl Lagerfeld is doing — it may not be luxury, but he’s always involved,” said Lam.
In addition to his two stores and his Web site, Lam’s collection is sold at stores including Barneys New York Inc., Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.
He stuttered briefly when discussing Burberry and its recent live-streaming of its runway show and offer to sell pieces right off the runway on burberry.com. “You can tell already I’m hyperventilating,” he told the students.
While Lam advocated greater closeness to the consumer, Lyons gave much of the credit for J. Crew’s recent success to the company’s understanding of its customer and its own identity.
Lyons began her post-collegiate career at Donna Karan and, although “grateful” for the opportunity, found herself feeling “disconnected” from the upscale label and desirous of a broader audience for her talents. “No one in my family could afford those clothes,” she said of her time at the designer house. “I didn’t feel like I belonged there somehow.”
Lyons moved back to her native California and worked as a waitress for three months until J. Crew hired her.
“You can do anything,” Lyons told the Parsons students. “You can be anyone…but the bar is so high. You have to work hard. Be tenacious.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast