Something beautiful happened in the bowels of the Hotel Pennsylvania, one of the grimiest in Manhattan, on Sunday afternoon. And it wasn’t the primped and impeccably groomed poodles prepping for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which the hotel also hosts. It was Sies Marjan’s fall show.
Sander Lak transformed a strange, vacant floor lined with exposed pipes and dirty tiles atop a set of escalators into a dream world of light and color that morphed from one tone to another before your eyes. The room was bathed in blue, pink, purple and red lights that transformed an otherwise blah space into a visceral realm, setting the clothes aglow in a sort of lucent fairy dust. It intensified the collection’s unusual palette — teal, sage green, brown and ombréd peach and ice blue, red and dusky blue — which always leads Lak’s design process and has been the refreshing, defining characteristic of this nascent collection. He doesn’t have an eye for palette, he has a soul for it.
“I’m really sensitive to it because colors always inform how I feel,” Lak said after the show. “Dégradé colors, like one color bleeding into another, make me really happy and every time there’s a hard corner I felt, like, nauseous.” So he made everything soft — the colors, the fabrics, the shapes. The hues melted into each other. Silhouettes came in fluid satin drapes and swirls, and furs — real and faux — added plush texture. What’s fascinating about Sies Marjan is that Lak seems to truly be in his own dimension in a good way. The clothes don’t fall in line with any trend. Here, the looks had something in common with draped modern dance dresses cut with lots of movement. A spare jumpsuit topped with a fur stole would have qualified as minimal if not for its bell sleeves and bell-bottom legs. Shift dresses wrapped in tulle around the shoulders were pretty, interesting but not too out there, and there were lots of great coats — teddy bear furs and a fantastic holographic trench.