There aren’t too many other designers, at least in New York, going down the road that Sander Lak is on at Sies Marjan. Three seasons in, the label is very much in its infancy but it’s fresh for other reasons, too. Lak has embraced fantastical color and free-flowing silhouettes for a look that is otherworldly in a sweet but subversive way. The fall collection had a lot of sporty, glam-rock Tinkerbell moments.
“I’m trying to figure out the things I like and the things I’m good at,” said Lak backstage. “I’m really fine-tuning it and rejecting this idea of irony.” That last part is key to what is setting him apart. There were no inside jokes or sly references to pick up. First and foremost, the lineup was an earnest celebration of the magic of color. Lak has an eye for daring palette combinations that ricochet off each other — magenta and nude; sorbert orange, mint green and beige; acid blue and brown. Instead of tempering the bold tones, he cast them on fabrics that intensified the dreaminess of the hues, for example, a handkerchief trapeze royal purple top in sweatshirt material over a matching ruffled satin miniskirt with a long, flyaway train in the back, and a long-sleeve fuchsia dress with an asymmetrically cut and sliced skirt done in deep magenta over a nude utility skirt with fluid slits up the sides.
Sporty touches modernized the flou, such as an iridescent dress that was ruched around the bodice but zipped up like a windbreaker. Those details — zippers, snaps, utility pockets — brought the ethereal look down to earth. “In the end, they are clothes,” said Lak. “It’s important to have a grounded-ness.” On that note, anchoring each look was a hefty shoe, big colorful loafers, flat and heels, drawn in trippy lines. They’re Sies Marjan’s first shoe collection that will be sold at retail.